In honor of NCAA Division III Week (April 7th-11th) and the 40th anniversary of Division III sports, SUNYIT will be spotlighting one senior athlete each day this week across the campus's video boards. Each athlete selected embodies the philosophy and spirit of Division III athletics, and has demonstrated outstanding leadership both in the classroom and on the field of play. For more information on Division III Week, check out the Division III Week page on NCAA.org.
Today's featured SUNYIT senior is women's volleyball outside-hitter Kaitlyn Harrington (Central Square, N.Y. / Paul V. Moore).
Harrington finished up a brilliant four-year career at SUNYIT this fall with a host of accolades and program-firsts. Chief among those was her selection as the NEAC Player of the Year, which she received after helping guide the Wildcats to the best season in program history, with a record of 29-5, and a conference record of 9-1.
SUNYIT earned a share of the NEAC Regular Season Championship for its efforts, and the team's 29 wins easily surpassed the previous program record for wins in a season of 21, set during the 2010-11 season.
Harrington finished the year with a team-high 345 kills, good for 3.22 kills-per-set. The 5-foot-11 outside-hitter set herself apart as a true all-around player, able to play the back-line as gracefully as the front. As proof, Harrington finished with 277 digs on the season, second only to the team's 2nd Team All-Conference libero Erika Reakes (Central Square, N.Y. / Paul V. Moore).
In addition to her Player of the Year honor, Harrington was selected to the All-Conference 1st Team. It was her 4th-straight selection to an all-conference team, and second overall selection to the 1st Team.
Off the court, Harrington has maintained an excellent GPA as a major in Civil Engineering Technology. She is a former recipient of the prestigious SUNY Chancellor's Scholar-Athlete Award. The average GPA for recipients of this award is a 3.7.
Said SUNYIT Head Men's and Women's Volleyball Coach Jake Bluhm in an interview in the fall, "She [Harrington] is our spoken and unspoken leader on the court…she does a lot of little things that really give opportunities to the rest of our team…she'll get a dig here and there, and obviously she gets some big kills when we need it."
Despite a full schedule of volleyball and classes, Harrington also found time this past season to work as a coach for the Whitesboro High School JV Volleyball Team. Wearing the coach's hat on the side may have contributed to Harrington's leadership for the Wildcats. In fact, it's worth noting that the gaudy kills numbers mentioned earlier are actually down from the previous year, as Harrington graciously sacrificed some of her attempts for a team that was deeper and more balanced than in previous years. The team-first attitude paid off, with the Wildcats rattling off 24-straight wins at one point during the season, the longest streak in the nation at the time.