At November’s 2022 East Coast Conference Championship, Daemen’s Women’s Cross Country team produced the individual champion and the runner-up, and placed second among the eight teams competing. While these accomplishments on their own are formidable, one runner went the extra mile to secure her place in the university’s history books.

Kassandra Nolet, a graduate student from Fort Erie, Ontario, crossed the finish line first among the 71 runners with a time of 18:42.3. As a result of her first-place finish, she became the first runner from Daemen to be named ECC Runner of the Year. Nolet, or “Kassy” as her coaches and teammates call her, graduated from Daemen in 2021, earning a degree in Psychology and is currently in the Applied Behavioral Analysis program.

“Kassy, being the first individual champion and first ECC runner of the year for our school, is a testament to how hard she has worked for the past five years,” said Head Cross Country Coach Pete Gratien.

“Not many athletes possess the right balance of confidence and work ethic to achieve what Kassy has achieved,” he added, “and her winning this title opens the door for her teammates to do the same thing in the future.”

This showing was the second fastest 5K time of Nolet’s career, knocking 16 seconds off her season-best time. It marked her fifth top five finish of the season, as well as her first individual championship this season after placing second to Colca in three races this year. Additionally, the scholar-athlete was voted ECC Preseason Runner of the Year back in August.