, Salem, MA

July 9, 2010

Record-breaking season for Hartnett at Holy Cross

Jean DePlacido

Katelyn Hartnett is on a record-setting course as a member of the Holy Cross indoor and spring track teams.

The former Danvers High star broke two school records in her sophomore year, both of which were originally 19 years ago.

What makes her accomplishments even more spectacular is the fact Hartnett is recovering from a stress fracture suffered late in her freshman year. It is still bothering her to some extent, and she has altered her normal running routines to compensate.

"I was suffering from what I thought were shin splits last year during spring season," said Hartnett. "I pushed through the pain, but when I came home for the summer I couldn't run. It took a long time to find out what was wrong, but the doctor finally diagnosed a stress fracture.

"I wound up in a boot for nine weeks and wasn't able to start running again until a week before I went back to school. It took all fall to feel better; I couldn't practice with the team every day which was frustrating because I hated being injured. At the same time I had to be sure it healed right. (As a result), I missed just one meet."

When she returned, Hartnett went all out and broke the Crusaders' record in the 1,000 meters in a time of 2:53.42, placing fourth at the New England Championship at Boston University.

Recently, Hartnett recorded the fastest Holy Cross time ever in the 800 (2:12:49) to finish second at the Patriot League championship meet at Bucknell.

"You tend to peak at championship meets when you go up against all the best runners," said Hartnett. "As a freshman I was 1/100th of a second away from the 800 record and one second short in the 1000; I knew I had three more years to break both."

Incidentally, both records that she broke were previously held by former teammates of her Holy Cross head coach, Egetta Alfonso. Hartnett said Alfonso was "awesome" about her injury and supported her throughout the recovery process.

"still don't run every day because I don't want the same thing to happen again. I cross-train and aqua jog in the pool to get my workouts in without a lot of stress," said Hartnett. "Coming out of high school to a Division 1 college program meant putting in a lot more mileage and pounding on it, which probably what caused the injury in the first place."

Hartnett got off to a great start last year as a freshman, placing fourth in the Patriot League 800 meter race and being named the league's Rookie of the Year.

The accounting major, who has been on the Dean's List both years, was recently named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll for the second time. In order to receive the honor, students must have at least a 3.20 grade point average during the spring semester.

She is currently working 40 hours a week at an accounting internship and fits in her training after work and on weekends.

"Time management is how I fit everything in," said Hartnett. "My goals are to keep improving and breaking my own records. I also have a team goal to get into the top three in the league both indoors and outdoors. We finished fourth in both this season, so it's very realistic."

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The 13th annual Brian D. Silber Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Wednesday, July 21 at The Meadow of Peabody, followed by dinner at the Hilltop in Saugus.

Silber, who grew up in Peabody and played baseball at St. John's Prep and Tufts University, fought a courageous battle against spinal cancer before passing away at age 28. The Brian D. Silber Spinal Tumor Center at Mass General Hospital has made great strides in researching cancer of the spinal column and spinal cord thanks to money received from the fund.

"We've been able to do this because of all the wonderful people who support our golf tournament and banquet every year," said Sharon Silber, who runs the event with her husband Jason. The family has raised over 1.3 million dollars to provide seed money for grants that allow doctors to conduct research in the field.

"Just this year, Dr. Scott Plotkin was researching a rare form of neurofibromatosis to reduce tumor size, and one of his patients also happened to suffer from a severe hearing loss. She had her hearing restored, and now because of his research there is hope to patients with spinal tumors and those with hearing problems."

Synergy, the magazine put out by the cancer center at Mass General, ran a feature story about this patient along with a sidebar about the tremendous support the Silber family has provided over the years.

There are still openings for both golf and the dinner/silent auction/auction at the Hilltop. The family hopes to have a full field and raise lots of money for a worthy cause.

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Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at