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Student-athlete profile on Maggie Doolin '14

Maggie Doolin '14 leads the Hamilton College track & field teams into the 2014 Hamilton Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 25. The meet starts at 11 a.m. and will feature a total of 18 schools. Maggie is a member of both the women's indoor and outdoor teams. She has earned a total of four NESCAC all-academic team honors so far at Hamilton.

Q. Can you please tell us a little bit about where you grew up?
A. I grew up in Marlborough, Mass., and attended Marlborough High School. Several decades ago, the local motto used to be "Marlborough, a country kind of city." The apple trees and cattle are mostly gone now, replaced by the growing population. There are pretty large ranges of socioeconomic classes and cultures to be found in my hometown, and this diversity greatly shaped my upbringing and gave me the tools to appreciate people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Q. How did you get interested in track and field?
A. Well, I had never participated in track and field before coming to Hamilton, but I had always been interested in what it meant to be a "thrower." Molly Brooks was a friend who lived on my hallway when I was a first-year and she was the only female thrower on the team. She encouraged me to come to a practice to see if I liked it and the rest is history.

Q. Did you participate in any other sports competitively before college?
A. Yes, I was on the volleyball and softball teams at my high school for all four years and played basketball until ninth grade.

Q. What factored into your decision to choose Hamilton College?
A. The people. I toured and applied to a LOT of schools, but I kept coming back to Hamilton in my mind as the place where I saw happy students who looked like people I could really get along with. It was definitely an underdog (most people in my hometown are completely unfamiliar with the college) but I’m proud to say that the friends I’ve made and academic opportunities I’ve had here have proven to me that I made the right decision!

Q. For those not as familiar with track and field, can you give readers some insight into the events you specialize in?
A. Absolutely! For indoor track I throw the weight. The implement is composed of a triangular metal handle attached to a short chain that is on a swivel, which in turn attaches to a weighted ball at the end (for women the weight is 20 pounds and for men it is 35). In this event, athletes do “turns” while holding the weight to generate speed and the appropriate trajectory and then release the weight, throwing for distance. In outdoor track I throw the hammer. This is very similar to the weight, but it is longer and lighter (8.8 pounds for women and 16 for men), and it goes about three times as far. Finally, I also throw the discus. In this event, the athlete does a very powerful spin that drives him or her across the throwing circle and then flicks their arm hard to release the discus, which is something like throwing a thick, heavy, metal CD (2.2 pounds for women and 4.4 for men).

Q. What are some of your goals and the team's goals for 2014?
A. Personally, I will be very happy if I set a new personal best in all of my events and qualify for our state and conference meets. On the team scale, we want as many athletes as possible to make the state and conference meets. We have girls from every class year who are fierce competitors, and we have the chance to do as well in every event group (jumps, sprints, distance and throws) as we have done in a while. We do seem to have many athletes sidelined each year by injury, so staying healthy is a top priority as well.

Q. The track and field teams host an 18-team invitational on Saturday. Individually, what do you want to get out of that meet?
A. I would like to keep improving and set my personal best. It has been a good practice week, and last Saturday I was only off the mark by one centimeter. I’m really looking forward to my time in the circle!

Q. Do you have a particular Hamilton track and field team memory that can be shared?
A. Kristy Oren is one of my closest friends here at Hamilton and also a member of the women’s track and field team. She pole vaults, but does not like me to watch because it takes her mind off the event. At the NESCAC championship meet our sophomore year, my parents and I happened to be walking by the vaulting area when it was her turn. We watched her set her personal record for vaulting by a couple of height increments. It was a very special moment to be a part of, and one my parents and I have shared with her many times since.

Q. You have earned four NESCAC all-academic team honors for indoor and outdoor track & field. What is the key to effectively balancing athletics and your studies?
A. The key for me is setting up a good schedule. Practice provides a natural break in my academic day and gives me the mental repose to be able to effectively do homework even after a long day of classes.

Q. I have seen a couple emails from you recently regarding Hamilton's Community Outreach and Opportunity Project (COOP). What do you do for them and is there an event coming up that you look forward to?
A. I am one of the four COOP Senior Fellows. My job as the Community Fellow is to connect sports teams and Greek societies with group service opportunities at local nonprofit organizations. I am also in charge of spreading word to the campus community when a nonprofit has an upcoming event for which they need young, active volunteers. Since we’re just coming back from winter break, we don’t have too much going on right now, but last semester one of my favorite events was the Thanksgiving turkey distribution at the Country Pantry. We had Hamilton students and employees volunteer for this event, and they were integral to the efficient distribution of more than 100 frozen turkeys to food pantry visitors.

Q. Do you have a favorite professor or a favorite class from your three-plus years here at Hamilton?
A. It is difficult to name a single professor as my favorite after having so many caring individuals teach me in the classroom and lab, but I would like to give a shout-out to the biology department. These men and women have shaped my academic path and I really appreciate their help. As for classes, I really enjoyed both parasitology and ecology. I am hoping to pursue a career in research and these classes have drawn my interest to their fields.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?
A. Right now I am joining the job search, applying to temporary positions as a research or laboratory assistant to test out the waters and make sure that I really want to stick with biology for my career. In the next year or two, I will be applying to graduate schools for ecology or a closely related field.

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