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Trine University alumna Amanda (Portis) Malefyt, center, a plaque indicating her induction into the university's Athletic Hall of Fame from Trine president Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., left, and athletic director Jeff Posendek.
Malefyt inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame
ANGOLA, Ind. – Trine University alumna and record-breaking runner Amanda (Portis) Malefyt was inducted into her alma mater’s Athletic Hall of Fame Sept. 30 at the school’s Homecoming Dinner in Ketner Sports Center.
Malefyt has been running since she was 2 years old, when she would accompany her dad (the high school track and cross country coach) to the track.
“My dad was a high school cross country and track coach, so I have been around running my whole life,” Malefyt said.
After high school, she wanted to keep running as a part of her life, but didn’t feel like an athlete worthy of Division I collegiate competition. Through a family friend, she heard about the chemical engineering program at Tri-State University. She said the school was a perfect fit for both her career and running goals.
“Once I got to college, I started running year-round. I didn’t expect it, but all of a sudden I started getting faster. Every time I did well, I asked myself if I could do better,” recalled Malefyt, who described herself as a goal-oriented person.
“I would set a goal at the beginning of the season, and coach Mike Cole would tell me that my goal was too low and that I should aim higher,” said Malefyt, who added that Cole would continually set goals she didn’t think she could accomplish.
She was wrong. In her college career, she went on to set four university records and two Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference records in outdoor track. She was a six-time national qualifier and All-American in the 5000-meter and 10000-meter runs. She also was the NAIA 10000-meter national champion in 2003.
Her success was not limited to the track or cross country course. Portis was also named the university’s chemical engineering student of the year for three consecutive years, maintaining almost a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. She also received the Cheryl Coons Scholar Athlete Award in 2004 and was named an Academic All-American and All-Conference.
After graduation, Malefyt went to work for Pfizer in Kalamazoo, Mich., and after work, she went to the high school to help her dad coach cross country and track.
“While there I realized I wanted to make coaching and teaching a more permanent part of my life,” Malefyt said.
In 2007, Portis headed to Michigan State University to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering. Once she finishes her degree, she’ll head back to her alma mater to serve as a chemical engineering professor, one of a handful in the university’s history.
To share your news, contact Trine University communication specialist Lindsay Winslow Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.