April 11, 2013

Miller has left her mark at CUA on and off the field

Most student athletes look forward to their senior day knowing that it will culminate with the end of their college career. For one CUA women’s lacrosse player however, she has become a veteran of the senior day festivities.

Katie Miller, a native of Walkersville, Md., not only celebrated her senior day in 2012 as an undergraduate, but earlier this season, Miller made the walk to mid-field and posed for pictures with the Catholic Women’s Lacrosse Class of 2013 as well, this time as a graduate student set to graduate yet again from CUA with two master’s degrees.

Miller finds herself in the unique position as a fifth-year senior who had an extra year of eligibility after studying abroad in Rome, Italy during her junior year at CUA.  She has already graduated with an undergraduate degree in architecture in May 2012.

CUA women’s lacrosse Head Coach Megan McDonogh lauds her senior attacker for the commitment she has made to Catholic in her five years on campus as a student, and for her time as a member of the five-time defending Landmark Conference champions.

“Katie defines the term student-athlete as she is an outstanding student first and foremost, however, she understands and is extremely committed to our team as an athlete,” said McDonogh.

An accomplished attack player at CUA, Miller looks back at her experience describing it as a “a truly amazing experience that helped to develop me as a person, not just as an athlete on the field.”

CUA assistant coach Meghan Murray calls Miller “magical” because of the “unbelievable shots that no one would ever expect to make it into the back of the net.”

Murray has known Miller since 8th grade and has watched her develop as both a teammate and player.  “Katie’s maturity and ability to balance such a hectic academic and lacrosse schedule has impressed me the most.  Katie always has so much going on, yet she still has the energy to be one of the most positive and hardworking people I know.”

Miller realizes that she has developed on the field throughout her time at CUA. Talking about her transition to the leader that she is today, she remembers, “I was pretty quiet as a freshman. I’ve really found my voice this year, especially with so many younger players.”

Mary Clare Reagan, a freshman that shares the same native state of Maryland as Miller her elder teammate as a “perfect captain” who has helped her teammates tremendously both on and off the field.

“Katie has taught me to keep my head up on the field and always look to support my teammates, whether it be cutting to the ball or backing up their shots” said Reagan, one of the youngest Cardinals who currently sit at 6-5 overall, and a perfect 2-0 in conference play.

While Miller appreciates and cherishes the memories she has on the field, she realizes just how special her academic experience at CUA has been as well.  The demands of being a student athlete are high to begin with inside the academically competitive Landmark Conference, but Miller increased her demand by choosing to major in architecture, one of the most difficult degree programs at CUA.

Coach McDonogh recognizes Miller’s achievements in the academic world as well. “I doubt Katie will tell you about all of her incredible academic accomplishments, but she graduated near the very top of her class last May and is also one of the top students in her graduate class.”

CUA has afforded Miller many worldly experiences as well. As mentioned earlier, Miller was able to spend part of her junior year abroad in Rome. She looks back on that time with great enthusiasm. “Studying in Rome literally broadened my horizons. To be able to see and touch history by viewing the ancient structures of Rome was amazing.”

Coach McDonogh sees Miller’s trip to Rome as a great experience as well. The CUA coach witnessed the benefits on the field, stating, “I think it made her appreciate it even more and really solidified that it is a big part of her life and who she is.”

McDonogh added, “Since she missed that season, Katie has become more of a presence with the team and dedicated her very limited free time to making sure she is in the best shape and playing the best lacrosse she can, too.”

Miller has made the most of her time at CUA, on the field, in Rome, and in the classroom. During her undergraduate career, she was able to participate in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.  “I was able to join the project as an undergrad and was able to work on the design. Now I am dealing with the logistics of the project.”

Miller goes on to add that the project has “allowed real world experience that most students do not get during college.”

Miller has many great memories to look back on during her time at CUA from the Solar Decathlon to studying in Rome. One of her favorite memories on the lacrosse field occurred last year after CUA won a Sweet Sixteen game in the NCAA Tournament.

As has been the case for many CUA Women’s Lacrosse senior classes, the customary tradition of graduating in the shadows of the National Basilica have been passed up, instead holding their graduation ceremony on the road during the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship.

“The seniors had to miss graduation because of the game. So we all brought our caps and gowns and walked across the field after the game. It was a great moment to remember because I got to spend graduation with my teammates” said Miller, who was more than happy to have the impromptu graduation ceremony.

Miller also talks about her proudest moment at CUA being when they won the Landmark Conference Championship in 2012. “That championship meant a lot because we had the target on our backs and had to work so hard to win. We were able to continue that legacy.”

Senior Kelly Neligan will always remember Miller’s desire to come back and play a fourth year after graduating. “Her decision to come back and play a fourth year demonstrates her commitment and dedication to the sport and her team.  I am truly grateful Katie Miller returned this season to play with me during my senior year.”

Coach McDonogh will be telling Miller’s story for years to come. “Katie is a success story that I have been bragging about for a few years now and will continue to do so because she truly epitomizes the term scholar-athlete.”

Miller will graduate in May 2014 with two degrees, a master’s degree in architecture and a master’s of science in sustainable design.  She looks forward to finding a job in the area while also continuing to work on the lacrosse field.

Story written by Vicky Berry, CUA Office of Athletic Communications

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