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Crafting a Leader

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Courtesy of Dara Ely, Dartmouth Sports Information

"Coach Wielgus and I... we've come a long way. We are both strong people, but we understand each other and we are both very passionate about what we are doing. When I came in I knew I had to somehow make Coach believe in me from freshman year to senior year..."

"Craft and I have four things in common: we both love the game of basketball, we are both relatively stubborn, we both speak our minds and we both care about this more than is probably good for either one of us."

And that very relationship almost never had the chance to blossom.

Four years ago Kristen Craft didn't even know what Dartmouth was, where it was or what it wanted to do with her. When the Iowan who had not yet chosen a college received a recruiting phone call from the Big Green in the late fall of her senior year, the courtship was essentially nonexistent. "I could not see myself at an Ivy League school and I knew they did not give scholarships, so I just said no," recalled Craft. "I knew I'd be a late recruit who got on a team when there were extra spots left which was fine with me, I knew something would work out."

Craft expected that like most of her large extended family, she would go to school and play basketball in Iowa or at furthest one of the surrounding states. But as the year wore on, the idea of Dartmouth crept back into the forefront and Craft decided to reconnect with the school. Things progressed quickly and she fell in love with the school on her official visit, applied, was accepted and committed, all in April. The support and encouragement of her parents played a big role in the process for Craft. "It was probably the best decision of my life to leave home and have these new experiences," she said.

Basketball was in the blood for Craft, whose parents and brothers played the sport, most notably her mother, Terri, who played at Iowa State and coached at Northern Iowa. Craft essentially grew up in the gym, spending her early years alongside her mom at UNI practices. When she was in seventh grade, her family moved to Marshalltown where her mother coached the successful women's team at the Community College. Craft spent many of her formative years around that team, an experience that focused her on the goal of playing college basketball. Remarkably, she still excelled at four sports in high school and thrived on both the competition and balance.

The complete article from Dara Ely can be found here.

- A.S.