- Nicholas Williams/Daily
By Claire Kintner, Daily Sports Writer
Published February 24, 2014
For some athletes, shooting the last puck or dunking the last ball may mean a lot more than just the end of a season. Many college athletes have participated in their sport since childhood, and as some seasons end for seniors, the transition away from a life of organized athletics can be a big adjustment.
However, for fifth-year senior women’s track and field captain, Kiley Tobel, adjusting isn’t so much the issue — it’s more about finishing her senior season with a bang.
“This year for me is the icing on the cake,” she said. “I’ve had a great career so far, but there is still unfinished business for me. I want to win a Big Ten championship as a team, I want to win one as an individual, and I’d like to make another trip back to nationals and have a great performance there.
“Overall, though, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself when it comes to setting goals, so I’m taking it day by day and learning from my mistakes.”
This past weekend, the Wolverines competed in their last indoor track meet of the regular season, the Silverston Invitational. Prior to the start of the running events, seniors were honored for their individual careers. Tobel had a chance to reflect on her own time, which naturally brought an air of nostalgia.
In her last season of eligibility, Tobel felt she could speak for the rest of the seniors on the team.
“It’s hard at times,” she said. “It makes me sad because this is something I’ve put so much time and energy into that it has basically become a part of who I am. I know it’s a great opportunity to be here competing for a fifth year, so I just want to soak it all in and be as positive as I can.”
However, for those who balance academic success and athletic achievement, the transition to a life without sports may not be so difficult after all.
A Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science major, Tobel has applied to two physical therapy schools recently, and has already been accepted to Eastern Michigan.
“The next phase is going to be different, but grad school is something I’ve been set on for a couple of years now,” she said. “It’s a huge relief, especially going into the outdoor season, knowing that my future plans are set.”
Among the nine first-place finishes secured by Michigan on Saturday, Tobel rounded out the final field event of the day by clearing a height of 3.98 meters in the pole vault. After a successful indoor season, it’s safe to say that Michigan is in a good position to compete for a Big Ten championship.
“There’s a lot of promise on our team,” Tobel said. “We have a lot of talent, but we have still a long way to go to reach our goals so we have to keep that in perspective and know that every single day is a building block for the next day.”