Senior Kat Lenhart is a long way from home.
Back in North Carolina, her Asheville-area home boasts the Appalachian Mountains as her backyard.
Yet the soccer standout has not only found her niche in Minnesota’s great outdoors, but also in holding down the Macalester College women’s soccer team defense as a bit of a bruiser, helping make her a two-time All-MIAC and All-Region selection.
“Minnesota is gorgeous. I love living here,” the defender said. “I have yet to get to the boundary waters – and that’s something I definitely want to do.”
Her mother’s home is tucked in a valley that’s shared by a handful of other families, and the basin’s farm provides plenty of vegetables and herbs for the restaurant Lenhart’s stepdad runs.
This year is Lehart’s final at Macalester, and it bears an unwanted hurdle. It’ll be hard enough getting her Scots to improve from their top three finish in the MIAC last year in a stacked conference (7-3-1 MIAC, 11-6-2 overall), but now the captain will have to do it on a rehabilitated ACL.
She tore the ligament in late October 2011. And studying abroad in Chile for the spring 2012 semester didn’t help for a speedy recovery.
Still, she expects to play most of her final fall season, as the MIAC season starts on Sept. 11.
“I really like our chances to finish high in the conference,” she said. “We have high hopes and our new coach (Michele Cornish) seems to be a great fit.”
The biology and anthropology major spent some time talking more about why she is starting to veer away from becoming a doctor like she had first planned.
What’s the career goal now?
The main goal was to work with kids and be a pediatrician. But I found out the way I want to work with kids isn’t in a medical setting necessarily anymore, and maybe more in the social work realm.
How did your time in Chile alter your career path?
I’m interested in indigenous groups’ access to health care. I studied traditional birth practices in Chile and how the indigenous population has spent hundreds of years developing their system, but then all of a sudden it doesn’t fit into the new government’s plan.
How does a science-minded individual also enjoy pastimes such as writing?
Writing is definitely something I enjoy. It’s mostly just short stories. It’s kind of surprising I do it. I don’t know how that happened.
How did you wind up at Macalester?
I opened their randomly sent brochure and their logo looked so cool to me that I wanted to visit. I also did want a smaller school that was pretty liberal and diverse. So Macalester fit.
How would you mother describe you?
Pretty sarcastic. Goofy. And I’m protective of my siblings.
How would your teammates describe you?
The same way – protective of my team.
What’s the secret to being named All-Region and All-MIAC twice over, with the chance to make it three times in a row?
It’s been a lot of hard work – I wish I could say it’s been easy. We have such a wonderful team, with great girls and coaches. My best friends are on the team.
Favorite part of Macalester?
I’m always bowled over by everyone’s cleverness. Honestly, I laugh a lot at the chants fans say at games. You know, like “Drink blood, smoke crack, worship Satan, go Mac.”