40-year-old mom of six runs cross-country for FMU
MICHAEL G. HAWKINS Francis Marion Athletics
Angela Kasitz is a freshman on the Francis Marion University women’s cross-country team, but not the usual 18-year-old newcomer. Kasitz isn’t even your typical nontraditional student, she is a student-athlete and mother to six, all while pursuing her degree in nursing.
Originally she had planned to attend a technical school for nursing, but then decided it would be better for her to go the four-year route to receive her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Kasitz ran on the side when she realized she could become a collegiate athlete and decided to join the cross-country team. She felt that running could “help to create balance” in her schedule.
Kasitz, 40, is a mother of three boys and three girls, with ages ranging from 7 to 20. Her oldest daughter runs cross-country at Queens University of Charlotte. The two will have the opportunity to race against one another on Saturday at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship Meet in Wingate, N.C.
Kasitz said she is “excited to be able to compete against my daughter, I never would have had that type of opportunity.”
The beneficiary of Kasitz’s decision to run is FMU cross-country coach Mark Bluman.
“When Angela reached out to us last June about eligibility and the possibility of joining our program, I had a hunch that this could be something that works out well,” Bluman said. “A few quick months later, I truly feel blessed to be part of her story. Angela is a testament to seizing opportunities, taking nothing for granted, and succeeding through hard work.”
Kasitz has been Francis Marion’s second finisher in all four events this season. Last weekend, she placed 62nd at the 2019 Peach Belt Conference Championship Meet with a time of 21:51.56 for 5,000 meters. She was also selected to the PBC’s All-Sportsmanship Team. Her season-best time for 5K is 20:58 at the USC Beaufort Sand Shark Invitational.
The hardest part about being mom, student, and athlete for Kasitz is separating the three roles and keeping up with the course load that she needs to maintain.
“Luckily, my family is very supportive and it has taught my kids to take on a little more responsibilities” she said regarding the support system she has and how the adjustment has been at home.
She said that it can become overwhelming at times and that is hard since others cannot relate to her scenario, but she stays positive since other women have done it.
“Angela’s consistent work ethic is contagious,” Bluman added. “She has become our second-best runner and in that role she pushes our top runner, Andrea Liddell, while also encouraging the seniors behind her. She goes up against other student-athletes half her age and just brings it full tilt each day. What a true freshman!”
Her other kids are all involved in sports, primarily running and swimming, which has allowed her to be able to connect with them from an athlete’s perspective.
Bluman also noted that Kasitz “is also excelling academically as a nursing major, a profession that requires long hours and a constantly positive attitude. This is a fitting career path for her and I look for her to be among the best nurses in the near future.”
Kasitz is a graduate of Boyertown Area High School in Boyertown, Pa