RFHS grad more than a `Face in the Crowd’
Caroline Cretti is already well known locally to anyone who followed prep track and field last season.
In her senior season, Cretti successfully defended her 1,600- and 3,200-meter Class 3A state titles last spring – setting records in both events – and her performance was named the Post Independent’s “Sports Story of the Year” for 2002.
But she now has moved into the big time.
The former Roaring Fork High School standout appeared in what many people feel is “the” premier sports publication – Sports Illustrated.
“I came home from somewhere and my mom said some woman from Sports Illustrated had called and wanted a name of a photographer (in the Carbondale area),” Cretti said. “It was really exciting. I wasn’t quite sure what to think about it.”
The magazine feted Cretti for her recent performance as a member of the Williams (Mass.) College women’s cross country team in the “Faces in the Crowd” section of the Jan. 13 edition.
“Cretti, a Williams College freshman, won four of her final five races as she led the Ephs to their first Division III title,” the text next to Cretti’s photo reads. “Williams won the team title over two-time defending champion Middlebury by 103 points, a record margin for the division.”
What the blurb doesn’t say – and something that makes Cretti’s accomplishments at Williams even more impressive – is until this year she never had a passion for cross country. Nor did she excel in the discipline during high school.
“I’d have to say this year at Williams is the first year I’ve really loved cross country,” Cretti said in a recent phone interview. “I’ve always loved track more – always loved running in a circle.”
That circle is a little tighter for Cretti right now. With cross country season over, Cretti is currently competing in the NCAA indoor track season. While the distances are similar to the outdoor season, the tracks are smaller and, obviously, the outside elements don’t play a factor.
Cretti, who said she had “never done anything on an indoor track” prior to this year, finished second in her first 3,000-meter indoor race of the season and was part of the first-place distance medley team.
“So far I’ve had like three practices on the indoor track, and raced once,” she said recently. “Everything is new, but I’m getting used to it as long as someone keeps (a lap) count for me.”
The small indoor track is one of a number of adjustments the Roaring Fork graduate is in the process of making. And probably one of the easier ones when compared to living away from home and attending an elite, small private college back east after going to public school in Colorado.
“It’s definitely a different lifestyle, but the adjustment wasn’t that bad,” she said. “The transition has been pretty good. It’s different out here, but I really like it.”
And although she’s made it into the national spotlight, Cretti hasn’t forgotten her former Roaring Fork teammates or coaches.
“I just want to say good luck to (sophomore) Alex Tiernan and thank you to coaches Debby Macek and Libby Nielson.”
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