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Lizzie Carlin may only be a freshman, but she is already part of Rowland Hall history. In her first year on the track team she has broken the school records for both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, and she has her eye on the record for the 400.

“Lizzie’s really got goals,” said Mark Oftedal, head track and field coach. “She came in with goals in her freshman year, which is kind of unusual for a freshman to come in knowing straightaway, ‘These are the events I want to do. These are my goals. These are the times I'm shooting for.’"

Lizzie quickly turned her goals into reality. At her first track meet of the season she broke the school record in the 100-meter sprint with a time of 12.87 seconds. At the second meet, she claimed her second school record when she ran the 200 in 26.96 seconds.

Sibling rivalry may have had a bit to do with how Lizzie set her goals. The first two records she broke were set by her older sister, Emma Carlin ’17. Now though, while Lizzie’s still interested in breaking records, she’s running more for herself. “I just want to get faster,” she said. “I don't know if I really have an end goal, but I think mostly I'm just trying to get better with every practice and get the best times I can.”

Those amazing times may seem to come easy to Lizzie, but there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes. This is only her first year running track—ever. She was, and still is, a soccer player. As we all know, the two sports are very different. Yet, with the help of coaches she has been able to navigate between the two. 

“We're trying to work more with her to get rid of the soccer arms—when you're running with your elbows out because you're trying to keep people away from the ball,” Coach Oftedal said. “We're trying to get her more linear in her sprint form, which will help take her times down.”

Lizzie said the physical differences between the two sports haven’t been the only adjustment. She’s had to change her mindset as well. “It's probably the first individual sport I've ever done,” she said. “That kind of gives me more motivation to do it well, because I know if I mess up, it's not like my team can fix it for me. And so that makes me work harder.”

There is a lot of hard work in Lizzie’s future if she wants the school record for the 400-meter sprint. At the final meet of the year she ran the race in 1:01.44 seconds. Her best time for the year was 1.00.76. The record, held by Candice Nkoy ’15, is 59.47. Lizzie had hoped to break it before the end of the year, but just over a second still stands between her and making more history. Will she be able to do it?

“She’s got the speed, obviously,” Coach Oftedal said. “Over time she will build endurance, and be able to carry that speed throughout the length of the race better.”

Lizzie knows breaking the record will be a challenge, but she’s digging deep to make it happen. “It's just having the motivation to go out and train on my own, so that I can get better at it,” Lizzie said. “That's the hardest part for me.”

Lizzie’s coaches see her drive growing, and they’re helping her overcome any qualms or fears that may get in her way. “She says she hates to compete, but I think it's because she cares so much about the outcome, the results, that she gets nervous,” Coach Oftedal said. “She's young. She's learning to deal with her nerves.”

Lizzie is at the right school for finding motivation and overcoming challenges. After all, it isn’t a question of if, but when: she hasn’t broken the 400 record, yet. She still has three more years, and the whole school cheering her on.

Athletics

Lizzie Carlin: Born to Run

Lizzie Carlin may only be a freshman, but she is already part of Rowland Hall history. In her first year on the track team she has broken the school records for both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, and she has her eye on the record for the 400.

“Lizzie’s really got goals,” said Mark Oftedal, head track and field coach. “She came in with goals in her freshman year, which is kind of unusual for a freshman to come in knowing straightaway, ‘These are the events I want to do. These are my goals. These are the times I'm shooting for.’"

Lizzie quickly turned her goals into reality. At her first track meet of the season she broke the school record in the 100-meter sprint with a time of 12.87 seconds. At the second meet, she claimed her second school record when she ran the 200 in 26.96 seconds.

Sibling rivalry may have had a bit to do with how Lizzie set her goals. The first two records she broke were set by her older sister, Emma Carlin ’17. Now though, while Lizzie’s still interested in breaking records, she’s running more for herself. “I just want to get faster,” she said. “I don't know if I really have an end goal, but I think mostly I'm just trying to get better with every practice and get the best times I can.”

Those amazing times may seem to come easy to Lizzie, but there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes. This is only her first year running track—ever. She was, and still is, a soccer player. As we all know, the two sports are very different. Yet, with the help of coaches she has been able to navigate between the two. 

“We're trying to work more with her to get rid of the soccer arms—when you're running with your elbows out because you're trying to keep people away from the ball,” Coach Oftedal said. “We're trying to get her more linear in her sprint form, which will help take her times down.”

Lizzie said the physical differences between the two sports haven’t been the only adjustment. She’s had to change her mindset as well. “It's probably the first individual sport I've ever done,” she said. “That kind of gives me more motivation to do it well, because I know if I mess up, it's not like my team can fix it for me. And so that makes me work harder.”

There is a lot of hard work in Lizzie’s future if she wants the school record for the 400-meter sprint. At the final meet of the year she ran the race in 1:01.44 seconds. Her best time for the year was 1.00.76. The record, held by Candice Nkoy ’15, is 59.47. Lizzie had hoped to break it before the end of the year, but just over a second still stands between her and making more history. Will she be able to do it?

“She’s got the speed, obviously,” Coach Oftedal said. “Over time she will build endurance, and be able to carry that speed throughout the length of the race better.”

Lizzie knows breaking the record will be a challenge, but she’s digging deep to make it happen. “It's just having the motivation to go out and train on my own, so that I can get better at it,” Lizzie said. “That's the hardest part for me.”

Lizzie’s coaches see her drive growing, and they’re helping her overcome any qualms or fears that may get in her way. “She says she hates to compete, but I think it's because she cares so much about the outcome, the results, that she gets nervous,” Coach Oftedal said. “She's young. She's learning to deal with her nerves.”

Lizzie is at the right school for finding motivation and overcoming challenges. After all, it isn’t a question of if, but when: she hasn’t broken the 400 record, yet. She still has three more years, and the whole school cheering her on.

Athletics

Explore More Athletics Stories

Sara Matsumura playing volleyball.

Haverford College senior Sara Matsumura ’16 added to her impressive list of achievements on September 9, when she was awarded the Centennial Conference’s Player of the Week after being named Most Valuable Player of the Ford Invitational only two days earlier. Then, on September 16, the NCAA announced that Sara was ranked third in Division III in total digs and seventh in service aces.

“I am over-the-moon ecstatic,” Sara said about the start of her senior season.

Despite the recent attention she has personally received, the Haverford volleyball co-captain remained focused on her team. “It is amazing to see all of our hard work coming to fruition and so motivating to see everyone reaching and playing at their full potential,” she said. “I feel a lot of appreciation for the group of girls I get to play with."

I am over-the-moon ecstatic. It is amazing to see all of our hard work coming to fruition and so motivating to see everyone reaching and playing at their full potential.—Sara Matsumura, Class of 2016

Kendra Tomsic, Sara’s former coach and Rowland Hall’s director of athletics, was not surprised to learn of Sara’s focus on teamwork. “Sara never cared about individual stats or accolades—she loved her teammates and celebrated their accomplishments as if they were her own,” she said of Sara’s time playing for the Winged Lions. “Her unmatched work ethic, positive attitude, fiery spirit, enthusiasm, heart, and passion for the game were an inspiration to her teammates and coaches.”
 
Kendra also praised Sara’s athletic prowess. “Sara is undoubtedly one of the most talented volleyball players to come out of our program. Her stats were tops in nearly every category, and she was instrumental to our winning several consecutive region titles,” she said. “I am so very proud and excited, but definitely not surprised, that Sara has continued to excel and has made such an amazing impact on her Haverford College team.”
 
Sara credited Rowland Hall for preparing her for success at the college level, both on the court and in the classroom. “The endless support I received from Rowland Hall’s coaching staff gave me the confidence I needed to gain an I-own-the-court mentality. As a back-row player, that is essential and has definitely been tested when facing strong teams,” she said. “Rowland Hall also prepared me to balance school and volleyball, as academics is our top priority at Haverford too.”
 
These balancing skills, first gained at Rowland Hall and then strengthened at Haverford, are essential to Sara’s success. When she isn’t excelling on the court, the chemistry major is researching microplastics and bioplastics for her senior thesis. After graduation, she plans on taking a gap year to work at an environmentally focused company, then earning a PhD in environmental engineering or chemistry. Armed with an arsenal of skills she has gathered as a student-athlete, we have no doubt she’ll continue to do great things, and we can’t wait to see them.


Top of page: Sara Matsumura playing in a Haverford College volleyball game. (Photo courtesy David Sinclair)

Alumni

Kendra Tomsic coaching a volleyball game.

Kendra Tomsic fell in love with sports at a young age, but when she was growing up, schools didn’t offer girls’ teams. Instead of deterring her, that early experience sparked a passion that still drives her today.

“As a pre-Title IX athlete who never had a coach or even the chance to compete until college, I vowed to help make certain others would have the opportunities I didn’t,” Kendra told attendees of YWCA Utah’s Leader Luncheon on September 13, as she accepted this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Sports and Athletics.

As a pre-Title IX athlete who never had a coach or even the chance to compete until college, I vowed to help make certain others would have the opportunities I didn’t.—Kendra Tomsic

She continued, “I made a commitment to become a coach and athletic director who would not only teach female athletes skills and strategies, but who would use sports to teach and model leadership, strength, confidence, courage, tenacity, resiliency, and the importance of teamwork.”

Kendra’s 42 years of dedication to this work—28 of them at Rowland Hall in roles including director of athletics, PE teacher, and volleyball, softball, and basketball coach—led YWCA Utah to select her as one of five women honored at this year’s luncheon. Award recipients are community leaders who advance the well-being of Utah women and girls, and who exemplify the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. In her roles as an administrator, educator, and coach, Kendra has harnessed her passion for athletics to empower Utah girls and women and to promote high school athletics at the state and national levels.

“It's not possible to overstate her positive impact on athletics in general and girls’ athletics in particular in Utah,” said Head of School Alan Sparrow. “Her commitment to getting women's athletics treated with the same opportunities and respect as men's athletics is inspirational. Through her dedication, diplomacy, and tenacity, girls’ athletics in Utah high schools have improved dramatically. She is universally respected by her peers and they listen to her when she points out inequities.” They’ve also celebrated her: Kendra’s long list of accolades includes a national Distinguished Service Award and state Athletic Director of the Year. But it’s praise from students that best illustrates the importance, and reach, of Kendra’s work. When news of the YWCA award was posted on Rowland Hall’s alumni Facebook page, an outpouring of love quickly followed, resulting in the page’s highest interaction to date.

“I am proud to say I know her.”

“There’s no one more deserving!”

“She’s amazing in every way and her dedication to making young women better athletes and, above that, better people cannot be topped!”

Kendra Tomsic with YWCA CEO Anne Burkholder.

Kendra Tomsic, right, with YWCA Chief Executive Officer Anne Burkholder at the September 13 Leader Luncheon. (Photo courtesy Charles Uibel Photography)

Kacie Tachiki Turcuato ’99 is one alumna who can attest to Kendra’s transformative power. The former volleyball player remembers her coach as a true mentor who believed in her potential, and who had the special ability to bring out and refine her strengths.

“I’m not a natural-born athlete,” Kacie said. “I’m super short and in my first year of high school I was very weak; I couldn’t even get a serve over the net. I just played because it was fun and recreational. But Kendra believed in me, she worked with me, and by the time I left Rowland Hall, I was a stronger athlete: I got the school’s Senior Athlete of the Year, I got Salt Lake Tribune’s Prep Athlete of the Week. I went from feeling like I couldn’t do anything to really feeling accomplished.”

Kacie called Kendra one of the most influential people in her life, and that influence didn’t stop at graduation. Her guidance has inspired Kacie in many ways, from pursuing a career in physical therapy to returning to Rowland Hall as an assistant volleyball coach.

Students have the utmost respect for her, because they just know who she is. When she talks, everyone’s engaged and they trust her.—Kacie Tachiki Turcuato ’99

“I feel so lucky because I honestly think I’d be somewhere totally different without her,” Kacie said. “I’ve had a very fortunate, successful career and life, and I can’t imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t met her. She can really bring out the best in you.”

Alan also spoke of this capability. “Kendra's deep commitment and caring for each and every player and coach she works with is obvious,” he said. “You can hear it in her tone of voice when she speaks to the students. You can see it in the compassion she shows when a player or student is upset or hurt. You notice it when she genuinely shows interest in her students’ lives outside and inside of school.”

Kendra’s compassion comes up again and again when people talk about her; it’s an important factor in how she mentors others. Coupled with an ability to build trust, Kendra successfully models life skills such as confidence, resiliency, and teamwork on the court and field—and students respond to it. “Students have the utmost respect for her, because they just know who she is,” said Kacie. “When she talks, everyone’s engaged and they trust her. It’s pretty cool to watch.”

This is true for Gita Varner ’05, a former volleyball and softball team manager, whose strongest memories of Kendra involve the life lessons she learned from her and now uses every day.

“Kendra was a role model for me on how to be true to yourself and accept everyone as they come,” Gita said. Kendra’s high standards also taught her the importance of hard work. “She helped instill a strong work ethic in me because she always expected me to be doing something.”

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, and guts—that’s what little girls are made of. To heck with sugar and spice!

And it may be inspiring students to use, and then themselves model, those life skills during and after their time at Rowland Hall that means the most to Kendra. As she closed her remarks at the Leader Luncheon, she shared a quote from professional surfer Bethany Hamilton-Dirks, along with a reminder of the role we all play in female empowerment: “‘Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, and guts—that’s what little girls are made of. To heck with sugar and spice!’ It is my work, and your work, to continue to send that message to young women, the future leaders of tomorrow.”

Thank you, Coach T, for this important lesson, and for the many others you teach student-athletes every day. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.

People

Girl soccer players walking away with arms around each other.

Rowland Hall won its second-consecutive Utah Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (UIAAA) 2A Directors Cup for excellence across three areas: athletics, academics, and sportsmanship and student leadership.

Athletics Director Kendra Tomsic said the prestigious award, announced July 13, demonstrates that Rowland Hall is home to some truly gifted student-athletes. “I am so very proud of our athletes for their efforts in the competitive arena as well as in the classroom,” Kendra said, “and thankful to our coaches who are so supportive of our student-athletes' academic commitments.”

Strong showings at state tournaments—along with high GPAs—helped Rowland Hall secure its second Directors Cup in the award's nine-year history. The UIAAA recognized seven of our teams for having the highest GPAs among their 2A competitors: volleyball, girls basketball, boys cross-country, boys tennis, boys track, and girls and boys soccer. And top-five finishes at state competitions included first place in 2A for girls soccer, second place in 3A for girls swimming, second place in 2A for boys soccer, third place in 2A for boys golf, third place in 2A for boys basketball, third place in 2A for girls golf, and fourth place in 3A for boys tennis.

The description of the Directors Cup, from UIAAA:

The UIAAA Directors Cup is awarded each year to the top school in each class that demonstrates combined excellence in athletic, academic, and sportsmanship and student-leadership [categories]. Each category makes up a percentage toward a school’s total ranking:

  1. Athletic (40%): The place or position a school team finishes in the state tournament.
  2. Academic (40%): Varsity team GPA.
  3. Sportsmanship and student leadership (20%): School’s participation in UHSAA-sponsored sportsmanship and leadership initiatives.

The top-five ranked schools in 2A:

  1. Rowland Hall: 15.26 points
  2. Gunnison: 13.47
  3. Waterford: 12.8
  4. Kanab: 10.12
  5. Layton Christian: 9.65

Rowland Hall's score also amounted to the fourth-highest point total among all classifications in the state.

Read last year's story about our first Directors Cup.

Athletics

Lizzie Carlin: Born to Run

Lizzie Carlin may only be a freshman, but she is already part of Rowland Hall history. In her first year on the track team she has broken the school records for both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, and she has her eye on the record for the 400.

“Lizzie’s really got goals,” said Mark Oftedal, head track and field coach. “She came in with goals in her freshman year, which is kind of unusual for a freshman to come in knowing straightaway, ‘These are the events I want to do. These are my goals. These are the times I'm shooting for.’"

Lizzie quickly turned her goals into reality. At her first track meet of the season she broke the school record in the 100-meter sprint with a time of 12.87 seconds. At the second meet, she claimed her second school record when she ran the 200 in 26.96 seconds.

Sibling rivalry may have had a bit to do with how Lizzie set her goals. The first two records she broke were set by her older sister, Emma Carlin ’17. Now though, while Lizzie’s still interested in breaking records, she’s running more for herself. “I just want to get faster,” she said. “I don't know if I really have an end goal, but I think mostly I'm just trying to get better with every practice and get the best times I can.”

Those amazing times may seem to come easy to Lizzie, but there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes. This is only her first year running track—ever. She was, and still is, a soccer player. As we all know, the two sports are very different. Yet, with the help of coaches she has been able to navigate between the two. 

“We're trying to work more with her to get rid of the soccer arms—when you're running with your elbows out because you're trying to keep people away from the ball,” Coach Oftedal said. “We're trying to get her more linear in her sprint form, which will help take her times down.”

Lizzie said the physical differences between the two sports haven’t been the only adjustment. She’s had to change her mindset as well. “It's probably the first individual sport I've ever done,” she said. “That kind of gives me more motivation to do it well, because I know if I mess up, it's not like my team can fix it for me. And so that makes me work harder.”

There is a lot of hard work in Lizzie’s future if she wants the school record for the 400-meter sprint. At the final meet of the year she ran the race in 1:01.44 seconds. Her best time for the year was 1.00.76. The record, held by Candice Nkoy ’15, is 59.47. Lizzie had hoped to break it before the end of the year, but just over a second still stands between her and making more history. Will she be able to do it?

“She’s got the speed, obviously,” Coach Oftedal said. “Over time she will build endurance, and be able to carry that speed throughout the length of the race better.”

Lizzie knows breaking the record will be a challenge, but she’s digging deep to make it happen. “It's just having the motivation to go out and train on my own, so that I can get better at it,” Lizzie said. “That's the hardest part for me.”

Lizzie’s coaches see her drive growing, and they’re helping her overcome any qualms or fears that may get in her way. “She says she hates to compete, but I think it's because she cares so much about the outcome, the results, that she gets nervous,” Coach Oftedal said. “She's young. She's learning to deal with her nerves.”

Lizzie is at the right school for finding motivation and overcoming challenges. After all, it isn’t a question of if, but when: she hasn’t broken the 400 record, yet. She still has three more years, and the whole school cheering her on.

Athletics

You Belong at Rowland Hall