2017 Track Team Signee Larissa Kijowski

As a track and field athlete, Larissa Kijowski knows what it means to be first. That makes being one of the first signees of Carlow's brand-new track team even more exciting.

Kijowski is currently finishing up her senior year at West Shamokin High School in Armstrong County, where, in addition to running the 800 meter and the mile, she also plays softball and runs cross country.

Different sports require different mindsets, she points out. Team sports, like softball, require everyone to work together to accomplish a goal. But "in track, it’s all on you. You decide what your goals are. I want to set a lot of personal records,” she says about her senior year. “It’s my last chance to do this in high school. I want it to be really memorable.”

Kijowski is also involved in her school’s music program. She’s participated in district choir in past years and is currently part of the ensemble cast in West Shamokin’s production of Mary Poppins.

“It’s a lot of work because I’m basically on stage in every scene. I’ve never tap danced before, but they gave me a pair of tap shoes, so now I’m learning,” she says.

Beyond her obvious competitive side, Kijowski is deeply compassionate. She wants to make a difference in her world by helping people in need. She’ll be a nursing major at Carlow and credits the Sisters of Mercy and their mission as two important factors in her decision to choose Carlow.

“The Sisters of Mercy align with my overall goals and values,” she says. “They have a truly positive impact on people’s lives, and that’s what I want to do.”

With so many hospitals within walking distance of campus, Oakland is the perfect setting for a future nursing student like Kijowski.

“I just fell in love with Oakland and Carlow,” she says. “I like how the campus looks and feels like it’s in a small town, but then it only takes a few steps to remember you’re in the city.”

Similar to her goals for her last season of high school track—and her foray into the world of tap dancing— Kijowski is determined to make Carlow’s first season memorable.

“I want to give the track team a good reputation,” she says. “I want other established schools to look at us like we belong and treat us with respect.”

By Caitlin Wilson