For athletes who play many sports in high school or college it would only seem natural if school work and other everyday activities got in the way.
But Westhampton Beach High School graduate and Speonk resident Brittany Carter has not only been able to play multiple sports and be successful at them but she’s also been able to maintain the grade point average that is necessary for her to keep her academic scholarship at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.
“Sports keep me on track,” she explained. “Just being so busy keeps me on track and keeps me focused on what I have to do.”
Carter was a three-sport athlete at Westhampton Beach, where she played basketball and participated in spring track and fall cross country. As a junior at St. Joseph’s, she still plays basketball and runs cross country in the fall and is contemplating running track in the spring.
Carter’s college career started at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, but she only stayed there for a year.
“It wasn’t the school for me,” she said. “I felt pressured to run and I fell out of love of the sport.”
Carter decided to come back to Long Island and transferred to Suffolk County Community College in Selden, where she continued to play basketball and run cross country. Since SCCC did not have a spring track program, and since she had always been a three-sport athlete, Carter started to look into colleges in the local area that would meet her requirement.
St. Joseph’s cross country head coach Jim Crowley knew of Carter from her days with Westhampton Beach because he is also the head coach at Connetquot High School. He felt that St. Joseph’s would be a great fit for her.
“I think the thing that made Brittany happiest is that she made fast friends here,” he said. “Our team just loved Brittany from day one. That’s what made her happiest. She has a special bond with our team now.”
Crowley knew exactly what the school was getting when she decided to transfer to St. Joseph’s.
“Her talents are her will to win and her toughness,” he said. “When you meet her you’re impressed. She looks like a runner, tall and slender. What you don’t know is her will to win. In the second half of this past season, when the races really counted, she was a different runner. When she wanted or needed to win a championship she just had a toughness about her and that’s what she brought to the table.”
Carter recently captured the 2008 Skyline Conference Women’s Individual Championship at Bard College, finishing the 5K race in 20:33. She said it was the first major championship she had ever won and it was exciting not only to win but to beat a rival runner in Angelica Iribarne of Mount Saint Vincent’s.
“At a mile and a half we were right next to each other,” Carter said. “Then as we started to go downhill I just opened up and took the lead and pretty much won from there.”
During her first season at St. Joseph’s, Carter has won the St. Joseph’s College and Lehman Invitationals, placed second among Division II and III runners at the St. John’s Fall Festival and also placed second at the Bard Invitational.
Carter believes that participating in several sports in college is different than achieving the feat in high school.
“College definitely takes a lot more,” she said. “There is more of a preseason. You have to lift. We never had to go into the weight room in high school, we just went to practice. Now, you have to do more to achieve what you want.”
Carter said it takes a lot of work for her to succeed and that her main motivation is her will to succeed. When thinking of a message to give to high school athletes looking to follow in her footsteps, Carter kept it short but sweet:
“Make sure you’re doing what you love to do,” she said. “Because if you don’t love what you do you’re not going to succeed in it.”