Kelsie Hao Named NESCAC Field Performer of the Week

Kelsie Hao '21
Kelsie Hao '21

HADLEY, MASS. – Williams College sophomore Kelsie Hao was named the NESCAC Field Performer of the Week.

Hao broke the school record in the pole vault, recording a mark of 3.91 meters to win the event at the Dick Farley-Gordon Kelly Dual Meet between Williams and MIT held this last weekend in Cambridge, Mass.

Williams downed MIT in the meet 108-76.

Hao's record effort ranks second on the national NCAA DIII performance list this spring.

"It is great for Kelsie to get the NESCAC honor," stated Eph jumps coach Brandon Gruver.  "3.91 (12'10") is a very good jump, and it's nice to see her get recognition for that, even with the NESCAC Track & Field scene being so competitive." 

Gruver went on to comment about Hao breaking the Eph school record, "It's very exciting. Williams has such a rich track & field history that school records aren't easy to come by. Every time we do get one, it's special!"

"Breaking a school record as a sophomore is even more exciting!  What might be the most impressive is that she had already eclipsed her lifetime best in the event earlier in the competition with a 3.86m (12'8") jump. It is often hard to successfully refocus after already winning the competition and setting a personal best. Kelsie's ability to do just that on Saturday highlights her awesome competitive drive." 

"It is definitely fun to see Kelsie's hard work paying off," added Gruver. "She is competing at a very high level and I am very happy for her. Knowing Kelsie, I believe her efforts will now shift to preparing for our championship meets including the NESCAC, New England and NCAA Championships.  I know she will be hungry for even higher bars, but we will also focus on making her 3.91m jump replicable in our upcoming meets.

"Kelsie puts a lot of work into her craft and her speed certainly doesn't hurt," continued Gruver. "Without a consistent place to practice this indoor season, Kelsie (and the rest of the team) did a great job of adjusting their schedules, focusing to get a lot of work done in small time periods, and being forever flexible. Facing that challenge definitely highlights her ability to roll with the punches and put great effort in no matter the circumstances.  Whether it is her favorite part of practice or the elements she dislikes, the effort is always consistent." 

"What I think is most unique about Kelsie is her ability to find the balance between fierce competitiveness, and also stepping back to try new things and fail occasionally. During practice, Kelsie is willing to fail over and over again to find the change that will ultimately help better her vault or long jump."

"Being able to fail without becoming discouraged is a rare skill," noted Gruver. "Regardless of how practice went Monday through Friday, Kelsie brings her A game on Saturdays and is always ready to compete. Some days it is against a rival or neighboring schools, other days it's against herself and her previous best, but she always finds a way to be compete."

Hao also earned a third-place finish in the long jump at the Farley-Kelly Dual, notching a mark of 5.43 meters.