By Chris Chaney
Felicity-Franklin senior track and field athlete Arica Stutz signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and athletic career at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Ky.
“I was going to go to UC-Clermont to play basketball, but I knew that I would rather do track if I had the chance,” Stutz explained. “NKU was one of the only schools that gave me the opportunity to run track, so I didn’t want to pass that up.”
Stutz was a three-sport varsity standout as a Lady Cardinal, running track and field while also starring on the basketball and soccer teams.
Stutz was a regular on the Southern Buckeye Conference All-Star teams in each of her three sports, earning First Team honors in each during her senior year.
Track and field was her best sport, however. She was named the SBC National Field Event Person of the Year her sophomore and senior years, while being named the National Runner of the Year her junior and senior years.
During a visit to NKU, Stutz said she really enjoyed the campus and felt comfortable with the class sizes coming from such a small high school.
“The coaches and the whole track team are great,” she said. “Everybody was so nice and it makes it really easy for me to want to go there and be a part of the team.”
Stutz’s mother, Cara, is extremely proud of her daughter’s accomplishments.
“(Signing with NKU) means that her hard work and perseverance paid off,” Cara Stutz said. “I’m hoping that she can become an inspiration to other students in our area and especially at Felicity.”
In explaining Arica’s recruitment, Cara explained the collective group effort made by coaches around the SBC and beyond that allowed her daughter to get the opportunity to run track and field at NKU.
“I didn’t play much of a role in (her recruiting),” Cara Stutz said. “Tracy Hawkins, the coach at Georgetown probably played one of the most important parts in it and other coaches in our area. The CCD coach called NKU for Arica. To be honest, it was other people who were doing this for her and other coaches from other schools.”
Cara Stutz explained that Coach Hawkins had a few of her athletes commit to NKU and brought up Arica’s name to the coaches at NKU.
“(Arica) is a very coachable, friendly, extremely compassionate person,” Cara Stutz said of why other coaches would vouch for her daughter. “The world of track has really opened things up for Arica and because she is so coachable, other schools have opened up their tracks for her to practice on. It makes me tear up to think out how much help the other coaches gave to Arica and that’s where a lot of support for her came from.”
When she enrolls at NKU next year and begins her tenure as a Norseman, Arica plans to compete in the heptathlon, a seven-event competition that includes both running and field events, highlighting her specialties.
As for her schooling, Stutz plans on studying materials engineering. Since NKU does not offer that as a course of study, Stutz wants to use her first few years at the school to complete her preengineering curriculum and then reassess her options.