The Orient chooses the male and female Athlete of the Season based on exemplary performance and commitment to their programs. The winners are selected by the sports editor.

Coby Horowitz ’14, cross country

In his second year at the College, Coby Horowitz '14 is leading the men's cross country team down a new path this season toward nationals.

Last weekend he led the Polar Bears, now ranked No. 14 nationally, to a third-place finish at regionals, qualifying the team for the NCAA D-III championship tomorrow in Oshkosh, Wis.

"The last runners we had at this level were Thompson Ogilvie '10, who placed 17th at nationals, and Steve Allison '02, who placed 15th," said Head Coach Peter Slovenski. "To say Coby is as good as these men is fair."

Horowitz grew up in Stow, Mass., where he started running in middle school. He trained alongside his sister Lindsey, who is a senior captain on the women's cross country team.

Horowitz said his first experience with running was in sixth grade.

"My sister was doing it, so I did," he said. "She was much better than I was, so as the years went by, I just tried to beat her."

"Two years later, I finally did it," he added.

Horowitz then picked up the pace after his sophomore year of high school, when he was disappointed with his results at the state meet in the spring.

"I had been average up until then, and after that bad race I just wanted to be good," he said.

Horowitz followed through and won the Massachusetts title twice in high school.

He looked forward to improving on that success at Bowdoin, but his first season ended on a difficult note.

"Individually it was rough," he said of his first year. "At regionals I got spiked in the heel and had to stop to put my shoe back on. If that hadn't happened, I think the results would have been different for me and for the team."

This year, Horowitz came back with a vengeance and never ceased to impress, finishing in the top seven at every meet. Most notable was his first-place finish in the Maine State meet and his second place finishes at the NESCAC and New England championships.

Though he was pleased with these performances, Horowitz points out that he lost each of these races to the same runner: Michael Schmidt, a senior at Middlebury.

"I usually don't lose to the same person without beating them at least once," he said. "It happened one time and I still think about it. He's like that one that got away, and I'd like to make sure I don't have another one."

Horowitz will compete against Schmidt again tomorrow, when he hopes to place among the top 35 in order to become an All-American. He likes his chances because he plans on keeping pace with Schmidt, who is predicted to place in the top 12.

Yet despite his strong desire to win, Horowitz does not take himself too seriously. When asked if he loved the sport, his surprising answer came easily.

"No," he said with a laugh. "I only like it because I'm good at it, that's the truth. Once I'm doing it, it's fine, but when I'm at home, I just can't make myself run."

This weekend marks the end of the cross country season, and though Horowitz will have little time to breathe before starting back up, he said he is looking forward to indoor track.

"It's the only time there is consistently nice weather," he said, citing the indoor setting. "In both of the other seasons, it's either muddy, raining and 40 degrees, or there's snow on the ground."

Above all else, Slovenski said that it is Horowitz's composure and easy-going attitude that make him such a successful runner.

"Coby's got a lot of composure in intense, competitive situations," said Slovenski. "He is a gifted racer. He can't hammer out workouts like some runners can, but he sure can hammer out races."

Runners up: Pat Noone '12, football, and Sean Bishop '12, soccer.

Kristin Hanczor ’12, volleyball

When Kristin Hanczor '12 scored the point that won the volleyball team its first NESCAC title, she collapsed on the court in shock.

"I put it down for a kill and I just fell to the ground," she said. "It was just so amazing having gotten that last point and having what I've wanted since walking into this school, and knowing that that point meant that there will be a banner in this gym forever."

Despite her key role in transforming the volleyball team from a low-tier NESCAC team to conference champion in just four years, Hanczor is quick to credit her coach, her teammates, her trainers—everyone but herself—for the team's legendary season.

Her self-effacing nature aside, the legacy that Hanczor leaves behind speaks to her sheer talent on the court. This year, Hanczor led the NESCAC with a .332 hitting percentage and was second in the conference for blocks per set. She holds the school record in blocks and is second in kills.

Given her success, it's hard to believe that Hanczor picked up volleyball as a secondary sport to basketball.

Originally, it was a way to keep in shape for basketball, but after a high school conference championship her senior year, Hanczor decided to pursue volleyball instead.

"I could see myself learning a lot more and feeling much more of a team player for volleyball than for basketball," she said.

Hanczor stepped on the floor of Morrell Gym three years ago with significantly less experience than her teammates, but with an insatiable desire to learn and an innate athleticism perfectly suited for volleyball.

"Athletically, there was a lot of right going on with Kristin," Head Coach Karen Corey said. "She needed some refinement in her technique, but getting to know her, I could see her competitiveness. I immediately liked her."

Although Corey saw Hanczor's potential and started her as a first year, Hanczor admitted that it took a while to build up her confidence.

"I was scared to death to be on the court," Hanczor said. "But as a freshman I got NESCAC Player of the Week. I didn't really know what that meant or why I had gotten it, but it was kind of an eye opener for what I could do," she added.

Since that first award, Hanczor went on to receive the Player of the Week honor three more times.

This year, she is not only NESCAC Co-Player of the Year but also a D-III All-American—the first in Bowdoin volleyball history.

Hanczor has been showered with accolades despite being diagnosed two years ago with a torn labrum, a shoulder injury for which she has postponed surgery in fear of not being able to play.

"It was painful, but it never hurt as much when we won," she said.

Hanczor's final season ended with a bittersweet loss to UMass-Boston in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the furthest that a Bowdoin volleyball team has ever advanced.

"It was a hard bus ride back," Hanczor said. "As much as I would give—which is just about anything—to play another game, I'm proud of everything we've done."

Runners up: Ella Curren '12 (field hockey) and Ellery Gould '12 (soccer).