Olivia Stein Hits The Ground Running In Final Season


Photo courtesy of Seattle U Athletics

Olivia Stein races at the 2018 WAC Championships

Olivia Stein, a graduate student getting her master’s in teaching, is in her final year of running for the Seattle University Cross Country Team as a redshirt senior. She has racked up a lengthy resume during her time on the team, including a gold medal in the 10k at the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) with a time of 35:51.29 and an impressive 17:23.70 in the 5k last weekend at the John Payne/ Curtis Invitational.

LG:What made you want to get into teaching? Tell me a little about that story.

OS: I was a humanities teaching [major] with a psychology minor. I took classes in social sciences because it’s what I’d like to teach. I started wanting to teach in high school. My high school cross-country coach told me that I’d be a great teacher, and as silly as it sounds, I was like, ‘Yeah that actually sounds fun.’ Then I wasn’t sure going into school, but every time I tutored or had a classroom internship, I just loved it. It makes me so happy to work with kids…I want to teach 11th and 12th graders and coach cross country and track and field. I’d love to coach. I feel like you can really get a chance to make a difference in kids’ lives.

LG: Tell me a little bit about how you started out. What made you want to participate in track and field?

OS: I never played sports as a kid. My family was very outdoor-oriented. They didn’t want to take me to soccer games or anything like that on the weekends—so we hiked a lot. I wanted to climb mountains when I grew up, so I started running as a way to get in shape for doing bigger climbs and hikes with my dads on the weekends. Then in PE class, I found out I was kind of good at it—I guess I was the fastest girl in my class. I just kind of went from there, and then the high school program I was a part of was a lot of fun. It was a huge community program. That’s just kind of where the love grew and then in college too— just feeling like a part of something, and being a part of a community—has just continued to grow my love for the sport.

LG: Tell me a little bit about what the team, specifically the Seattle U team, means to you.

OS: The team means everything to me. I’m someone who likes to set a lot of goals, and on my runs, I do a lot of imagery to motivate myself. So when I think about the season as a whole, the first thing I think about is what I want the team to do. Looking at this season, I want the team to win the WAC and then my individual goal is to win— then it’d help the team. The team is the anchor, and I put what I want to do based on the team.

LG: Can you tell me a little bit about what you were thinking and how you were feeling when you broke those records and when you when you win these championships?

OS: My junior year had a lot of surprises—really great surprises. I’d always kind of have this feeling that I could do more as a runner and that I was ready to take the next step, but I just never really knew how to get there. Then, Coach Sullivan came in and he believed in me and told me I could do it. He set these high goals and so he really lit the fire for me again. I care about the sport so much…So for me to walk away and win a championship title was incredible. I care about the titles more than the time.

LG: What are your hopes for this year, and what do you hope not only for yourself, but the team as well?

OS: We have the WAC Championships in about two weeks and nine days— not that I’m counting or anything— and as a team I want to win it. It’s my last year running and I want to win as a team and as an individual…and we can win it. We’re ready to fight for it from start to finish.

Logan may be reached at [email protected]