Priyanka Fouda ’16 has made a life out of crossing finish lines. Not just the immediate finish line at the ends of her cross-country and track and field races, but also the finish lines that define her running career, her college experience, and her course after Wellesley.
Phil Jennings, head coach of cross-country and track and field, describes Fouda as “a super talent,” but notes that her determination to succeed at Wellesley extends far beyond her athletic career. “She strives to do everything to the best of her ability, and she wants to be the best at what she does,” Jennings says. “She’s very driven.”
Fouda is a force for the Blue in cross-country. As a first-year, she led all Wellesley runners in the Seven Sisters Cross-Country Championship, the NEWMAC Cross-Country Championship, and the NCAA New England Regional races. She’s only improved on that impressive start: As a sophomore, Fouda picked up All-Conference and NCAA All-Region honors. As a junior, she was the second Wellesley runner to cross the line at the NCAA Division III Cross-Country Championships and was the individual Seven Sisters champion. And as a senior, Fouda began her final campaign with an individual first-place finish that led the 22nd-ranked Blue to a first-place team finish at the Roger Williams Invite, earning NEWMAC Women’s Cross-Country Runner of the Week honors.
At the Seven Sisters championship in October, Fouda took home the individual trophy for the second year in a row, the first Wellesley runner to do so. (The Blue also swept the top four spots, setting a new record for a team score at the championships.)
Fouda has also helped bring the track and field program to national prominence: She posted a ninth-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at last spring’s NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships, and earned U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic honors.
“Running in NCAA Division III is wonderful,” says Fouda. “Academics come first, but there’s still a very high level of competition. Through all my years at Wellesley, I’ve been trying to see what I can do next and what the next challenge will be.”
Fouda’s next challenge may be the working world. An Albright Fellow who is double majoring in economics and philosophy, she has interned at Goldman Sachs the past two summers. She’s accepted an offer to work in the bank’s financial institutions group following her graduation.
“Running is a sport where you reap the rewards after a long period of time. It’s really hard to have an amazing race off of no work,” Fouda says. “Running is also a sustained effort. You don’t qualify for nationals off of an amazing race—you qualify off of an amazing season. I’ve learned that you can’t take shortcuts based on talent. You need talent, but hard work will take you a lot farther.”
Photo by Megan LaBella