Souderton's Lee, O'Malley, Jackson & Kohler to Compete at the Collegiate Level

 

On Thursday, April 6, 2017, Souderton seniors Cara Jackson, Ellie Kohler, Kalena Lee and Moira O’Malley were recognized for committing to continue their cross country and/or track careers at the collegiate level. To view photos of the event, please visit the Photo Gallery.

Cara Jackson – West Chester University (Track & Field)
Major: 
Early Childhood Education/Special Education
Final list of colleges:  West Chester, Kutztown
Reasons for choosing West Chester:  “I definitely wanted to go to a state school because I knew they had great education programs. Also, all of the state schools I was looking at are D2 athletic programs. After hearing about West Chester’s program, I really wanted to get my education degree there. Overall, West Chester had the perfect combination of academics and athletics for me.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in track at the collegiate level?  “As a freshman, I didn’t think I was going to run in college. At the end of my sophomore year, I began to see myself continuing track after high school. During my junior year, I started looking at state schools and the track programs they had. Throughout the spring 2016 season, I was contacting coaches and giving them my stats. What led me to decide that I wanted to run in college was the support from my coaches and parents. My coach helped me realize that I could run in D2 programs. Within the past one-and-a-half years, I became more confident in myself, and I knew I wanted to continue doing this sport.”
Coach Mike Feliciani says:  “Cara Jackson was a two-year team captain. She was a really, really hard worker who grew methodically through her four years at Souderton. She understood how to set goals and was very patient with her development. Cara is just an outstanding athlete, and she's going to do awesome at West Chester.”
About Cara:
Favorite food: 
Steak and Bacon Cheeseburgers
Favorite movie:  Legally Blonde
Favorite music:  “All kinds of music but especially Taylor Swift.”

Ellie Kohler – Baldwin Wallace University - Berea, Ohio (Cross Country & Track)
Major: 
Piano Performance
Final list of colleges:  Baldwin Wallace, Mansfield
Reasons for choosing Baldwin Wallace:  “I visited the school in February for a Keyboard Encounter experience and fell in love with the school and working with the faculty. I did a weeklong summer Conservatory program, and the friends I made and time I spent on campus and with the faculty really solidified it as my number one choice and the place I knew I wanted to be. I had also met the coach and have been in contact with him. When I went out to audition for piano, I got to attend an indoor track meet and got to know the team. They were very welcoming, and I knew this was the kind of atmosphere that I would love to be in for the next four years.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in cross country and track at the collegiate level?  “I had run track in middle school and decided to pursue it in high school as well. Freshman year I enjoyed cross country and was encouraged to keep running with winter track and spring track. I had a really supportive team and upperclassmen mentors that kindled my love for the sport. I went on to earn varsity letters that year and my sophomore year.
“My junior year of high school I set a goal to make the top seven varsity for cross country. In school, I had also signed up for strength training in the fall and then aerobics in the spring. Pushing myself harder in practices and in my gym classes showed me how much more I was capable of. It challenged me, made me a better athlete, and I was able to improve my times greatly. It was during this year when colleges started sending me letters that I made running at the collegiate level my goal. Looking for a school with a strong music program was my focus, but it worked out well when I discovered Baldwin Wallace where I could do both. I was very happy to find a school like Baldwin Wallace in which I could pursue my major and run on the cross country, winter and spring track team.”
Coach Mike Feliciani says:  “Ellie Kohler is a hard-nosed, no-nonsense kind a girl who showed up every day and did exactly what was asked of her with a smile on her face. She is just an absolute pleasure to have on the team. She's such an amazing kid, and I'm really excited for her. She's going to be running for Baldwin Wallace where she will pursue a career in piano performance. She is also an incredibly talented musician, and I'm really proud of her.”
About Ellie:
Favorite food: 
Ham Loaf, Lima Beans, and Peaches
Favorite movie:  La La Land
Favorite music:  Kpop (Korean music) or anything Jazz/Classical

Moira O’Malley – Elon University (Track & Field)
Major: 
Biology
Final list of colleges:  Elon, Penn State, Virginia
Reasons for choosing Elon:  “Successful in CAA conference, experienced high jump coach, good team atmosphere, school was a good fit.”
What was the progression that led you to continuing your track and field career at the collegiate level?  “Junior year I knew that I wanted to continue running and high jumping at the collegiate level. Schools started to reach out to me after my indoor state championship - my best jump leading into my junior outdoor season was 5’6” and I knew that I would be successful at a D2 or D3 program but wanted to get to the next level. Usually the recruiting standard for D1 was to jump 5’8”. I ended up jumping 5’9.25” which opened up my D1 options at the end of my junior year and set me up for the summer when I began visiting schools. After I narrowed down my schools to three at the end of the summer, I began going on my official visits.”
Coach Mike Feliciani says:  “Moira O'Malley was just a once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent who I enjoyed as a fan of track and field as much as I did as a coach. Just watching some of the things that she was able to achieve was so impressive. She will leave as one of the most accomplished track athletes in school history. Moira is the outdoor school record holder in high jump at 5-9 1/4 and was a six-time national qualifier.”
About Moira:
Favorite food: 
Mashed Potatoes
Favorite movie:  Captain America
Favorite music:  Beyonce

Kalena Lee – Arcadia University (Cross Country)
Major: 
Physician’s Assistant
Final list of colleges:  Arcadia, Drexel, University of the Sciences
Reasons for choosing Arcadia:  “I think Arcadia offers the right balance between academics and athletics. There is a variety of courses and sports to be involved in, and the coaches are really passionate about the culture.”
What was the progression that led you to continuing your cross country career at the collegiate level?  “I knew I wanted to run cross country at the collegiate level when I started running my sophomore year. I’m really passionate about the sport, and I knew I would miss the atmosphere if I didn’t pursue it in college.
“The recruiting process started the beginning of my senior year when I found out about Arcadia, and I thought it was the perfect fit for me. I contacted the coaches, and they were very interested and very passionate which made me want to run for them even more.”
Coach Mike Feliciani says:  “Kalena Le is one of those kids who just improves the culture that she's around. She always had a smile on her face, and she was more excited for her teammates than she ever was for herself. I loved having her around to improve the team spirit. She's always been a fan of the sport, and she's very knowledgeable about the conference and different performances in the state.”
About Kalena:
Favorite food: 
Pasta
Favorite movie:  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Favorite music:  Alternative