Eck’s accomplishments praised by Trine community
Members of the Trine University community lauded track and field athletes Kara Eck as the gold standard for college athletes following her appearance in “Defying the Odds: The 2018 Honda Inspiration Award” on the CBS Sports Network.
“Kara Eck is the most decorated athlete in Trine University history, but she is a better student and person. In short, she is truly great,” said Matt Land, assistant vice president for athletics. “Every Trine University athlete should look to Kara Eck as a model for greatness. She is the complete package as a student, leader, competitor and person.”
“Kara will never be replaced,” said Rod Waters, head track and field coach. “Her legacy will live on forever in Trine track and field history.”
Eck was a finalist for the Honda Inspiration Award, which eventually went to Megan Cunningham of the University of Missouri.
Following her fourth-place performance in the hammer throw at the 2018 NCAA Division III National Meet, Eck became the first Trine athlete ever to earn All-American honors five times.
The record came after she underwent brain surgery for a life-threatening infection in December. Following two subsequent surgeries, she returned to practice in February.
She won the weight throw and shot put at the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Indoor Championships and qualified for the national indoor meet in March, but elected to not compete in that event to continue work toward making her final outdoor season a memorable one.
She continued her inspirational comeback into that season, capturing the MIAA individual title in the hammer throw for the fourth time in her career. She also went on to win the shot put and help lead the Thunder women to a fourth-place finish in the overall team standings.
Eck qualified for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship Meet with a season-best mark of 174’ 8” (52.23 meters) to rank 14th in the nation. At nationals, she advanced to the finals on her final preliminary attempt with a throw of 176’ 0” (53.64 meters). In her very next throw, Kara launched her best effort of the day, 185’ 8” (56.60 meters), finishing fourth overall, which tied her best-ever placing in national meet competition.
"What a way to finish a stellar career," said Waters. "There were some who didn't believe she'd be able to throw again, let alone garner All-American honors after entering the meet ranked 14th.”
In addition to her All-American honors, Eck ended her athletic career at Trine as a 12-time national qualifier, holder of four school and conference records, a 13-time MIAA Champion, two-time USTFCCA national Athlete of the Week, a six-time MIAA Most Outstanding Field Athlete award winner and a multiple all-region award winner. In the classroom, she a graduated with a degree in elementary education/special education and was named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll multiple times.