Arouca-born senior women’s hockey team player, Kayla Brathwaite became the second T&T woman after Blair Wynen (2008) to capture Lock Haven University’s Charlie E. Smith Award.
The 25-year-old Brathwaite copped the school’s prestigious award on Thursday last when the Lock Haven University Department of Athletics held its sixth annual Talons.
This year, the Talons were held virtually on social media due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has caused the cancellation of most of 2020 season since mid-March across the world.
Highlighting, the night was the announcement of the 2019-20 Charlotte E. Smith (women) and Bald Eagle (men) award winners.
Copping the Charlotte E. Smith was former Bishop Anstey East High School student, Brathwaite who represented the Pennsylvania, USA University in both field hockey and track and field for the past four years.
The award is presented to an outstanding female student-athlete senior who has shown dedication to both academics, athletics and outstanding leadership, and has made a lasting impact on the “Haven Nation”.
Brathwaite has been a model student-athlete both on the field and in the classroom.
The senior was named to the Atlantic-10 First Team All-Conference this season and holds a 3.56 cumulative GPA.
She also excelled on the track, sitting second in LHU history with a time of 42.80 in the 300 metres and is part of school records in two relay events, the 4×200 metres and the distance medley relay.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing the cancellation of the 2020 spring sports season, Brathwaite and her nine other seniors did not get the chance to continue their impressive school athletics resumes.
During her time at Lock Haven Brathwaite has quietly been a stud of the Haven ladies.
She sits second all-time at LHU in the Indoor 300m, eighth all-time in the outdoor 400m, and has been a member on the record-breaking outdoor distance medley relay team and outdoor 800m relay team.
Additionally, she contributed to the fourth place finishing 2019 PSAC distance medley relay team ((12:53.25 minutes), and individually finished sixth in the 400m at the 2019 PSAC Outdoor Championship meet, running 58.34 seconds that put her at eighth all-time at Lock Haven.
Most recently she finished 10th in the 400m at the 2020 Indoor PSAC Championship and ends her tenure with college best in the 60m (8.18 secs); 100m (13.15 seconds); 200m (26.03 sec); 300m (42.80 secs), and 400m (58:34).
On the hockey astroturf, Brathwaite who plans to become an educator in the field of health and physical education in the future earned All-Region honours from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) and helped lead the Bald Eagle field hockey team to their first A-10 playoff appearance since 2014 and a 6-2 conference record and 11-8 overall, going 11-7 in the regular season.
She was also named to the Division I NFHCA Senior All-Star Game and was one of ten members of the Lock Haven team who earned a spot on the 2019 Zag/National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association (NFHCA) Division I National Academic squad.
She played in 17 games during 2018, scored two goals and had eight assists after which she was named as a 2018 Zag/National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association Division I National Academic Team member and earned a 2018 pre-season All-Conference pick.
And during her 2017 debut season, she was a standout as a freshman, being named to the to 2017 All-Atlantic 10 Second Team and All A-10 Rookie Team after scoring one goal and five assists.
Brathwaite was also a 2017 Division I National Academic squad member.
Brathwaite said she was very honoured as well as becoming only the second player from T&T to achieve such accolade behind former club-mate Wynne. “For me, it was difficult at times, but having the outlet of sports makes everything easier, so combining the three was not that difficult.”
She added, ” I think what made it a lot easier for me was having three other club-mates and friends from my T&T hockey club, Notre Dame with me at the same university in Dana-Lee De Gannes, Stephanie Whiteman and Tamia Roach when I first came over.”
“So for me, it was just like being back home in Trinidad as we were always together at hockey and it was no different at Lock Haven University.”
Looking ahead, and post-Covid-19, Brathwaite who is expected to graduate on Saturday, said her immediate focus will surely be on her academics ahead of hockey.