York College senior forward Kristen Haley is a three-time All-CAC honoree and the 2011 Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year. Early in her senior season, she has already broken the school record for career blocked shots and is climbing the school record lists for points and rebounds. She’s helped the Spartans to one conference championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. Off the court, Haley is a Dean’s List student, a member of the CAC Academic Honor Roll and is active in the YCP Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. INTRODUCING … Kristen Haley.
Briefly, what is your background in the sport you play? I started playing basketball when I was five years old. I began playing AAU for the Maryland Flames when I was in fourth grade and played for them until I graduated high school. I was lucky that I had the same coach the whole time and even luckier that my mom was my assistant coach throughout my AAU career as well. While playing with the Flames, we finished second and third in the country at Nationals as well as ninth several times.
What is your major in college, and what is the most important thing you learned in that discipline? I am a nursing major and the most important thing it has taught me so far is, that in life we come in contact with so many diverse people. We all come from different places, backgrounds, and cultures and it is important to treat every individual the same and to refrain from passing judgment; you never know another's whole story and everything they have been through that has led them to where and who they are today.
What is your favorite spot on campus? My favorite place on campus is the gym. There is nothing like a quiet gym to shoot around when you need to think. Either all of my problems are left at the door or I can solve them because I do my best thinking alone in the gym.
Outside of your home and campus, where is your favorite place visit? One of my favorite places to visit is the beach. I've always loved the ocean and hearing waves crash and feeling the sand between my toes makes me feel calm and relaxed. It doesn’t get much better than relaxing on beach with not a care in the world.
Other than your team, what organization (s) do you participate in (on campus or off campus)? I am a representative for the women's basketball team in SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Committee).
Briefly describe the most memorable experience during your collegiate athletic career. In my collegiate career, my team has won a CAC championship, made it to the Sweet 16, and last year I scored my 1000th career point and all of these experiences among many others are ones I will never forget. Those are not only some of the best and proudest moments of my collegiate career, but of my life. I look forward to the season with hopes to repeat some of those team accomplishments.
Other than your family members, who was the most influential person in your life? My AAU Coach, Herb Krusen, was very influential in my life. He coached me from when I was nine years old to 17. He was a fair and knowledgeable coach (and former DI player) who taught me that hard work is the key to being successful. I have applied this in my basketball career as well as my school work. He always treated his players with respect and challenged me on the court. He taught many life lessons that I have applied in my basketball career as well as life. He really loved coaching us and seeing us grow as people and as players.
If you could give one piece of advice to elementary school children, what would that advice be? I would tell the children that if they learn who they are and what they want to be at a young age and stick to it they can become that person. Life isn't about the material things you have, or even what you chose to do, it's about the person you choose to be. As cliché as it sounds, it is true and valuable to understand especially if it can be learned early on in life.
Outside of the CAC, who or what is your favorite sports person or team? Outside of the CAC my favorite teams are the Washington Redskins and the Washington Capitals.
Name three (3) people, real or fictional, living or dead, that you'd like to have dinner with? I would love to be able to sit down and talk to Mother Teresa and Harriet Tubman.
Mother Teresa was an amazing and strong women who took care of others and put herself last and she made it look so easy. As a future nurse, I will be taking care of others and would be very interested to hear from Mother Teresa as she set such a good example. She said "not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love" and this is a quote I want to try to live by because everything you do for others, no matter how small it seems can make a big difference in their life.
Harriet Tubman is the epitome of a strong and courageous women. To not only have lived to escape slavery herself, but to risk her life to help hundreds of others escape to be able to start a new life, would have taken more courage than I can imagine. She put others' lives before her own and for her to be involved as an antislavery activist and leader as a women at the time shows her strength. I want to be able to live my life with the strength and courage to stand up for what I believe in and have faith that I can make a difference in someone else's life.