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Tim Singler | Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Notre Dame senior Erica Watson has been on a journey since her arrival as a freshman and now, in her final year, she looks to show everyone that hard work does pay off.

Coming in from high school, Erica was not the most highly touted runner in her class. In fact, she was competing against many other runners who had far better résumés.

“She came from a good high school, so she understood what it meant to be a contributor to a strong team,” Irish coach Tim Connelly said.

Watson knew what it meant to contribute to the team, whether in big ways or just by doing the little things. She has been a quiet example for other runners to look up to as she goes about the sport the right way.

As a freshman, Watson was competing against stronger competition than she had competed against high school. She did not waver however, and continued to persevere through the trials.

“The main thing that I told her early on was to work hard and be patient, which is what she has done for four years,” Connelly said.

The years of hard work finally began to pay off as she improved to become a regular contributor to the team. She finally began collecting points for the Irish in the meets as she continued to put forth the effort.

When working hard, it’s possible to over-train and eventually tax the body. Watson has watched herself and come to know when she may need to slow down, which is not typically done in a race.

“She has been very intelligent in her training, push[ing] hard when she was able to and back[ing] off when she needed to recover,” Connelly said. “As a result, she has avoided many injuries and has been able to have a steady progression.

Her hard work has paid off in running and has affected other members of the team. She has had a positive effect upon the younger runners and has become an excellent leader for the team.

During her career, Watson has given the Irish three years of consistency, and she has moved from a rather quiet freshman to become a more vocal team leader.