SUNY Canton

Aine McMorrow

The Natural

Áine McMorrow '19

When Áine McMorrow '19 joined the women’s cross country team on a whim during her freshman year, no one would have believed she’d run away with a United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) national championship four months later.

A native of Knocklyon, Ireland, McMorrow chose SUNY Canton to pursue a Nursing degree. She signed up for the cross country team despite never running in a competitive race before arriving in the U.S.

“I played a sport in Ireland called Gaelic football, which was pretty much my life,” she said. “So I needed something to fill that spot while I was at college.”

She began training to build her endurance, and when it came time for the season opener, McMorrow said she didn’t expect great results. To her surprise, she jumped out to a quick lead and finished first – well ahead of her competitors.

“Áine is one of the hardest working runners I’ve ever coached,” said women’s cross country head coach Kathryn Kennedy. “I would attribute her success to a combination of natural talent, determination and a strong work ethic.”

“I was kind of shocked,” she said. “I thought it was just beginner’s luck.”

Turns out, it wasn’t a fluke. McMorrow hit her stride and turned in stellar performances at the next six races, earning three first-place finishes.

“Áine is one of the hardest working runners I’ve ever coached,” said women’s cross country head coach Kathryn Kennedy. “I would attribute her success to a combination of natural talent, determination and a strong work ethic.”

To close out her phenomenal rookie season, she traveled to Florida for a shot at the USCAA championship in November 2015. She would have to battle 90-degree heat and 119 other runners to earn the title.

McMorrow

“After the first few minutes of the race, I didn’t think I had a chance,” McMorrow said. "When I started passing competitors around the halfway point, I thought I might be able to win.”

Then the heat began taking its toll.

“I could feel the lactic acid building up in my legs, and my body started to give up on me,” she recalled.

She forged ahead and crossed the finish line to secure the championship.

“It didn’t sink in for a few hours that I’d won, honestly” she said. “Once people started congratulating me, it became real.”

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