While the reasoning behind why student-athletes choose to attend Gettysburg College vary, there is one aspect that tends to be a reoccurring theme – the atmosphere. The warmth, kindness, and enthusiasm are what make the students feel like they have a home away from home.
Five members of the women’s cross country team shared their reasons as to why they chose to attend Gettysburg along with what they enjoy the most about being a part of the program:
Ashlyn Booher ’22 – Team Captain
Boiling Springs, Pa./Boiling Springs High School
Political Science Major
Economics, Peace and Justice Studies Minor
The opportunity to compete in both the cross country and track and field programs as well as pursue my interests in political science attracted me to Gettysburg College. When I arrived on campus, the kindness and excitement of the team and other students I met, along with some servo cookies, sealed the deal.
Being a part of the team itself has been the most enjoyable part of my time at Gettysburg. We do nearly everything together from running, to studying, to celebrating our victories after a big meet. The team is a great support system and through all of the changes to our academic life in recent months, we have remained super connected. The cross country team is truly a family.
Amy Cantrell ’22 – Team Captain*
Hailey, Idaho/Wood River High School
Political Science and International Affairs Double Major
I chose to attend Gettysburg College pretty much on a whim. I spent my freshman year at Montana State University but then decided that I wanted to try something completely new. I reached out to a college counselor who offered a list of small schools on the east coast with programs that fit my academic goals. Before move-in day last year, I had never even visited Gettysburg. With that being said, it was and remains one of the best decisions I have ever made. Gettysburg has been so great for me and I have really enjoyed all aspects of the school.
There isn’t enough I could say about the women’s cross country team. Everyone fully supports each other both competitively and beyond running. I feel not only challenged athletically but in every other part of my life. The team motivates me as a runner and plays an instrumental role in my academic and personal growth. Both my coaches and teammates push me to push myself, and that’s something that has been a fundamental component of my college experience. Being a member of the cross country team has given me some of my favorite Gettysburg memories and friendships that I will carry with me long after graduation.
Megan Czerpak ’23
Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove High School
Biology and Spanish Major
I chose to attend Gettysburg College because I loved the atmosphere of the campus when I came to an open house. My decision was solidified when I came for my overnight with the cross country team, and I got to see the group dynamic and how much fun they were to be around.
What I have enjoyed the most about being a member of the team is having an automatic family right when I arrived on campus. They welcomed me with open arms, and they are now people I can go to for anything, from help with schoolwork to more personal matters. Even going through injuries during the season, they never stopped encouraging me to do my best and to control what I could. I cannot imagine my Gettysburg experience without them.
Georgia Larzelere ’22
Medford, N.J./Shawnee High School
Studio Art Minor
I do not like to use this cliché, but I truly picked Gettysburg College because it felt like a place I could call home. I looked at and applied to way too many colleges, but when I visited Gettysburg’s campus, I knew it was a place I could fit in. I also did an overnight with the team, and everyone was so fun and outgoing and made me feel like I belonged there.
The team camaraderie and the supportive family we built has been the best part of joining the team. Each year I’ve established strong friendships with teammates from every grade- no one ever acted as if they were above anyone else just because they were faster or older. These girls have made every practice, meet, and long bus ride worth it no matter the circumstances. We’ve even had other teams tell us how close and fun our team seems. I couldn’t have asked for a better group!
Kathrin O’Brien ’22
Lynchburg, Va./Virginia Episcopal School
Spanish and Studio Art Major
I first visited Gettysburg the summer after my sophomore year of high school, and I instantly loved it. I came to visit a few more times after that and decided it was my number one choice for schools. I knew I wanted to go somewhere small and Gettysburg ended up being the perfect fit. I did an overnight with the team my senior year and loved it!
It has given me my best friends on campus, and I think it is a great bond to have with someone. I believe that it has made my experience at Gettysburg even better, and I love training with such a great group of girls.
Lauren O’Neil ’24
Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe High School
Gettysburg was the first school that truly showed me what I wanted in a college. After spending months researching schools, I concluded that I wanted to go to a big school in the south, which was the opposite of Gettysburg. However, after visiting Gettysburg, I really understood the appeal of a small liberal arts college. As I walked around campus, I saw students smiling and waving at each other as they crossed paths, it brought a sense of comfort to such an unfamiliar place. The sense of familiarity that Gettysburg brought along with the beautiful campus and with renowned academics, I knew this was a place where I would thrive.
*taking a gap semester
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This story was originally posted on the Gettysburg College Website.