Being named an all-conference athlete of the year is the kind of recognition that can go to a student’s head. But for Olivia Miller ’21, being named the 2021 River States Conference (RSC) Athlete of the Year was a humbling experience, one that caught her by surprise.
“I didn’t even know I was up for it,” said Miller, a Bolivar, Pa. native and graduate of Carlow’s human biology program. “It’s an honor. It’s awesome to feel that all the hard work you’ve put in has paid off.”
Miller’s prowess in track and field is well established. She’s a three-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American, and in 2021 was named the RSC’s women’s indoor field Athlete of the Year and won the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) academic all-district award.
Miller, captain of the track and field team, is one of 176 student-athletes at Carlow University. While the University does find its student-athletes through the traditional recruitment route, as in Miller’s case, many other Celtics are encouraged to join on their own or ask that Carlow consider them for recruitment. Many of Miller’s teammates found their way to the team in that fashion — with their captain’s encouragement.
“She’s a very good leader who leads by example,” said Tony Anderson, Carlow’s track and field coach. “She doesn’t like to get on any of the other athletes, but she does like to encourage them to keep up with her, to do better, to focus. She is a tutor, not just within our team but academically.”
Sydney Seymour, a freshman protégé during Miller’s senior year, echoed that assessment.
“She was honestly just a big sister on the team,” said Seymour, a nursing student from Allison Park, Pa. “Olivia was always so motivating and hard working. If I was doing something wrong, she wouldn’t be afraid to step up and help me fix it. It was never in a mean way; she would just step in to help however possible.”
Miller, who maintained a 3.67 GPA, has an additional year of eligibility in track and field due to a season being canceled by COVID-19. That means if she decides to return for graduate school, she will have an additional year as a role model for other student-athletes.
Her advice to them?
“I would tell them, ‘Don’t be scared,’” she said. “I feel like a lot of students are hesitant to get involved. I know that at Carlow, there were a couple teammates who weren’t originally recruited. Either Coach Tony or myself would reach out, they’d come out and have success.”
Whatever path Carlow’s student-athletes take, they are strongly encouraged to get involved.