Flying to Wisconsin, competing against some of the nation’s top athletes, and making history for Babson very nearly didn’t happen for Marina Capalbo ’15.
Capalbo, who became the College’s first athlete to compete at an NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship in May, initially was told by head coach Russ Brennen that she hadn’t made the NCAA cut, only to be later informed that, in fact, she had qualified. “I’m halfway home on a ferry to Long Island, and I receive a phone call from my coach as the ferry is pulling away from the dock saying they made a mistake and I was in,” she says. “It was a turbulence of emotions, accepting the fact that I wasn’t going, and then all of a sudden being told I made it.”
Capalbo qualified for the national championship, which was held at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, in the 1,500-meter run. She placed 17th in the country. “Nationals was an amazing experience,” says Capalbo. “It’s kind of hard to explain unless you actually feel the energy in the stadium. We were treated like rock stars.”
Babson’s record holder in both the 800- and 1,500-meter runs, Capalbo also earned all-region honors as a sophomore after placing seventh at the 2012 NCAA New England Championship. She’s a valuable member of the women’s cross-country program as well, and the owner of the school’s fastest 5K and 6K times. She picked up all-region and all-conference accolades in fall 2012. This September, Capalbo broke the College record for the 5K at the Lt. Travis J. Fuller Invitational, finishing first in her race while leading her team to victory.
Capalbo’s next goal is to return to the national stage and run both track and cross-country. “With cross-country last fall, I missed qualifying for nationals by one spot and a fraction of a second,” says Capalbo. “Coming into this season, I’m hungry for it again. Now that I’ve seen the national stage at track, I can only imagine what the energy will be like for cross-country.”
A member of the Honors Program at Babson, Capalbo excels in the classroom and garnered academic all-conference accolades, which requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5. During the summer, she completed an internship at England’s National Health Service before taking a three-week class at The London School of Economics and Political Science.
How does Capalbo balance everything? “Having a sport is one of the best things I did coming into college because it gives you that rigorous structure to your schedule,” she says. “When I don’t have practice, meetings, or class, I give myself deadlines for getting my homework done. I hold myself accountable for doing all those things.”—Scott Dietz, associate director of athletics