Local athlete, national champ: Kate Livesay

<p> Katy Perine was a surprise.</p><p> When her parents, Carolyn and Ken, went to Porter Hospital for the birth of their third child, they discovered only then that Carolyn would indeed deliver their third &mdash; and fourth. Their doctor and friend, Chip Malcolm, examined an X-ray and said, &ldquo;Looks like two!&rdquo;</p><p> Kathryn was born 15 minutes after her sister, Kristi. That was July 19, 1980.</p><p> Jump three decades and Kathryn (Perine) Livesay is the reigning Division III National Women&rsquo;s Lacrosse Championship coach. Her Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.) team won the national title a week ago Sunday at Montclair, N.J., defeating perennial power Salisbury, 8-7.</p><p> This triumph does not come as a surprise. Kate Livesay has put together a stunning record in the six years she has been head coach of women&rsquo;s lacrosse at Trinity:</p><p> &bull;&nbsp; Her won-loss record this year was 21-1. Her record over six years is 87-22.</p><p> &bull;&nbsp; She has been honored this year as the NESCAC Women&rsquo;s Lacrosse Coach of the Year &mdash; the fourth time in six years.</p><p> &bull;&nbsp; Her teams have played in the NESCAC tournament all six years she has been their coach and the NCAA tournament five times.</p><p> &bull;&nbsp; The year before she took charge of the Trinity program, at age 25, the team was 5-9. In her first year the Bantams were 12-5, came in second in the NESCAC tournament, and won a game in the NCAA tourney.</p><p> Kate comes from a local family of athletes. Her mom, dad, and siblings Chandler, Jennifer, and Kristi all played high school sports, and were college athletes at Middlebury, Dartmouth and Bowdoin.</p><p> When I asked Kate who was her &ldquo;greatest influence&rdquo; in sports, she quickly credited her mother. &ldquo;As a kid I grew up knowing that my mother played field hockey, basketball and lacrosse at Middlebury College and it became a dream of mine to do the same.</p><p> &ldquo;I remember when my Mom was teaching lacrosse and coaching my sister Jenn&rsquo;s sixth-grade team. They played on that field behind St. Mary&rsquo;s School. Kristi and I were only in the fourth grade but we got to play with the big kids, and we thought that was a big deal.&rdquo;</p><p> An inkling that she might like to grow up and coach came early. She recalled &ldquo;Career Day&rdquo; in junior high when students &ldquo;shadowed&rdquo; people in the workplace.</p><p> &ldquo;I chose to &lsquo;shadow&rsquo; Amy Backus, women&rsquo;s basketball coach at Middlebury College, on the day of a game. I went to the pregame meeting and sat on the bench next to the coaches during the game. They gave me a clipboard and asked me to keep some stats. It was thrilling for me.&rdquo;</p><p> At Middlebury Union High School, Kate was a star athlete, playing field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse, winning a host of honors, and playing on state championship teams in field hockey (&rsquo;96) and lacrosse (&rsquo;98).</p><p> Between high school and college, Kate spent a year at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. &ldquo;I knew I wanted to come to Middlebury, but I worried about the &lsquo;local&rsquo; thing,&rdquo; she explained.</p><p> Deerfield provided the break she needed. Kate was a standout from day one in field hockey and lacrosse at Middlebury College and ultimately earned all-NESCAC honors in those sports.</p><p> Middlebury lacrosse was in an era of spectacular success. &ldquo;We won the NESCACs each year I was there (&rsquo;99-&rsquo;03) and won the National Championship in my sophomore and junior years.&rdquo;</p><p> She also played basketball for two years at Middlebury College for Coach Norene Pecsok. &ldquo;Basketball was my favorite sport. I just wasn&rsquo;t very good at it, couldn&rsquo;t put the ball in the hoop!&rdquo; she said with a laugh.</p><p> Kate spoke with enthusiasm about the academic side of her life as a student/athlete. An American Civilization major, she enjoyed her courses in college, particularly her senior essay on Bob Dylan and his cultural impact.</p><p> Kate traveled for six months after graduation to Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, then joined the master&rsquo;s program at Trinity, studying history and serving as a graduate assistant in field hockey and lacrosse.</p><p> Her dissertation was on the Navy&rsquo;s V-12 program during World War II, which had soldiers training at Middlebury, one of whom was her grandfather, Gordie Perine. &ldquo;My grandmother, Alice, was a phenomenal resource.&rdquo;</p><p> Her lacrosse coach at Middlebury College, Missy Foote, is Kate&rsquo;s &ldquo;number one role model. She&rsquo;s very inspiring &mdash; so competitive but respectful of the way her players represent themselves and the school. I think a lot about Missy at Trinity. We talk often.&rdquo;</p><p> For her part, Missy is thrilled by Kate&rsquo;s success. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s so fun now that she&rsquo;s a colleague.&rdquo;</p><p> &ldquo;Kate was defender in lacrosse, not a scorer,&rdquo; Missy said, &ldquo;and she really studied the game. Her strength as a coach is that she can analyze what the other team is doing and adjust her strategy &mdash; and then convince her players to go out and do it.</p><p> &ldquo;She is confidently calm. Her teams don&rsquo;t rattle.&rdquo;</p><p> Kate explained the essence of her coaching approach. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s about balance. I want a balance between hard work and fun. I want players to be focused and committed, but I want them to laugh and have light moments too.&rdquo;</p><p> Kate also has balance in her personal life. She is the mother of two small daughters, Alice, 3, and Dana, 6 months. Her husband, Reeves, teaches math at the Kingswood-Oxford School.</p><p> Kate Livesay &mdash; a brilliant young coach, from Middlebury, Vt., and Middlebury College:</p><p> And that&rsquo;s no surprise.&nbsp;</p>

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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