It is important for any college athlete to finish their career on a high note, and with a senior season full of accomplishments, UCSB track star Stephanie Rothstein has done just that.
Recently named the Big West Female Track Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season, Rothstein has made her final season a memorable one and will likely go down as one of the best distance runners in school history. Rothstein will look to add to her list of achievements as a Gaucho when she competes alongside five of her teammates at the NCAA Championships June 6 through 9 in Sacramento.
“She is the anchor,” Head Coach Pete Dolan said. “If she wasn’t here the last four years, we would not have had the success we’ve had.”
Rothstein has left her mark on the record book this season, twice setting school and conference records with a time of 16:12.77 in the 5,000 meters and a time of 33:26.79 in the 10,000 meters. She once again displayed her prowess in these events at the recent Big West Championships, where she took first in the 5,000 meters and finished second in the 10,000 meters to senior teammate Megan Lewis, one of her closest friends on the team.
“I couldn’t be where I am today without [Lewis],” Rothstein said. “We do a lot of running and training together, so when I have a bad day, she has a good day; she pulls me up and I pull her up.”
One of the keys to Rothstein’s stellar season has been her ability to stay healthy. While she has battled several injuries throughout her college career, Rothstein has worked her way through the adversity.
“Staying healthy has definitely been one of my biggest accomplishments,” Rothstein said. “Half the battle is staying healthy.”
Rothstein’s biggest contribution to the Gauchos throughout her career has arguably been the intangible quality of leadership. In her senior season she was able to lead through her demonstration of skill and experience.
“I think I lead by example,” Rothstein said. “To me, I think a leader is someone who has a passion and they believe and others are drawn to that person because of that.”
Santa Barbara most recently competed at the NCAA West Regionals, where Rothstein and Lewis participated in the 5,000 meters. Finishing 7th and 8th with times of 16:38.60 and 16:39.78, respectively, they both qualified for the upcoming NCAA Championships. With the positive attitude that has guided her career at UCSB, the event should be the perfect sendoff for Rothstein.
“I think that what separates our program from others is that we are ready come the end of the season,” Rothstein said. “I love [competing in the postseason]; the way I see it the bigger events can either be an obstacle or an opportunity, and I choose to see it as an opportunity.”