Graduate student Abby Klein is not planning on slowing down anytime soon
As COVID-19 recedes, some of the impacts remain—with a particular warp on NCAA rules governing student-athletes: That is, if the pandemic caused a collegiate athlete’s season to be canceled, those students may opt for an additional year or two of eligibility, including extending an undergraduate athletic career into graduate school—and, over the next year or two, thousands of student-athletes will cash in on that allowance, including Abby Klein, a Pacific graduate student majoring in applied psychology. A ross-country and track team member while an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, Klein graduated with two years of track and field and one cross-country season eligibility remaining—years that Klein plans to use up here at Pacific, still having plenty of gas in the tank.
Klein is in her second and final year of graduate school at Pacific, and is competing in her last year of track this season. She specializes in long distance, running the 5k in cross country and the 1500-meter in track. Klein, who craves racing, hopes to shake up the usual routine by competing in the 800-meter dash and the 4×400 relay.
Klein is known on her team as a race junkie; she even ran unattached in several cross-country races this fall due to ineligibility. Klein has learned over the years how to balance school, life, and sports, and she has big plans for her future after competitive sports.
“Goal is to work in a private group practice as a therapist and develop my niche for a few years,” explained Klein. “In the future, I’ll open up a group private practice with clinicians I meet along the way. I would love to have a holistic practice that takes an eclectic approach to health.”
Klein thought her running days were over, but after graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she decided to continue her education at Pacific. One day she thought, “Damn, it’d be pretty lit to run in grad school,” so she emailed the coaching staff and spoke with Head Coach Bailee Krings. The phone call was, in her words, “so genuine and welcoming” that “it was a no-brainer.”
In undergraduate, Klein felt she had more flexibility and a relaxed class schedule that practice could easily be scheduled around. Klein explained that she could not prioritize running anymore with her all-over-the-place graduate school schedule and leaves her practicing when she has time. Klien has found herself running workouts, the majority alone or with her coach.
Klein admits that her schedule is hectic and not always ideal, but she wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Her extra years in grade school they forced her to appreciate the small moments after they were taken away from her.
“My experience now is full of much more gratitude and more love for the sport,” smiled Klein. “Maybe I’ve matured, but I don’t take competing or these connections I’ve made being a part of a collegiate team for granted as I may have in undergrad. I’ve found the most amazing people in the running community!” — Cole Weber