Former UC Davis track and field standout Samantha Kearney returns to her alma mater as an assistant coach with the men's and women's cross country programs beginning with the 2014 season.
"I'm very happy to be back in the program," Kearney said. "The team has reached new heights every season, and I am excited to be a part of these history-breaking teams. The ultimate goal for the past few years has been to be established teams on the national level. I believe the talent, experience, and determination, that this group of Aggies has will get us there."
Kearney returns "home" after spending a season as the women's cross country and men's and women's mid-distance and steeplechase coach at Hillsdale College in Michigan. In her only season, Kearney helped the Chargers' cross country squad reach the NCAA Division II championships, posting a 15th place team finish, while helping one of her athletes, Emily Oren, earn indoor and outdoor All-America honors in both the mile and 3K steeplechase.
She coaches Oren and teammate Amy Kerst to a total of four Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference indoor distance titles as well as six conference all-academic awards.
Prior to her work with the Chargers, Kearney followed up a stellar collegiate career with the Aggies by spending the 2012-13 season as a volunteer assistant coach at UC Davis working with both the cross country and track and field squads, including helping the Aggies to a Big West track and field title.
During her first coaching stint with the Aggies, Kearney helped tutor a pair of Division I All-Americans in Lauren Wallace (800m) and Katie Fry (steeplechase) as well as four Big West champions on the track: Wallace (800m, 4x400m), Fry (steeplechase), Sarah Sumpter (10K), and Raquel Lambdin (1500m).
As a student-athlete, Kearney served as team captain for the Aggies' first Big West titles in cross country and track and field while also excelling in the classroom. She finished her career ranked third on the UC Davis all-time steeplechase list with a time of 10:37.62 and finished 35th in the event at the NCAA West Region preliminary meet.
Off the track, Kearney was a member of four USTFCCCA All-Academic teams and was a five-time Big West All-Academic Team honoree. She also earned a spot on the Dean's List twice during her academic career.
A 2012 graduate of UC Davis, Kearney earned a bachelors degree in exercise biology with a minor in Spanish. She also earned her USTFCCCA Track and Field Technical Certification Level 1 in 2013.