Patriot League 20th Anniversary Profiles: Christina Wright



Sept. 2, 2010

Name: Christina Wright
Institution: American University
Sport: Track and Field
Graduation Year: 2007
Undergraduate Degree:Public Communication
Did You Know?

Owns AU school record for indoor and outdoor shot put

  • Member of 2004 and 2006 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll for both indoor and outdoor track and field
  • Owns American school record in shot put (indoor and outdoor) and ranks second in discus
  • Member of Patriot League Student-Athlete Advisory Council

Currently the Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the NCAA, Wright ranks among the top field event competitors in American track and field chronicles. As an undergraduate student-athlete, she also worked as an athletic administration intern at American University. She was also very active in campus life, representing the student body on various search and advisory committees. Her research, The Token Athlete: Sports and Performance-Enhancing Drugs, was published at the 2005 National Conference on Undergraduate Research. In 2007, Wright received the Stafford H. Cassell student achievement award, the Female Scholar Athlete award, and a NCAA Minority and Women's Enhancement Postgraduate Scholarship for Careers in Athletics. She also was the recipient of the Executive Director's Award of Excellence for her work as a resident assistant in 2006. After graduating from American, she awarded the 2008 Black Coaches and Administrators Ethnic Minority Postgraduate Scholarship.

Q: What factors helped in your decision to attend American University?
A: Location, major and athletics. At American University, I would be in the nation's capital in a unique degree program (CLEG: communications, law, economics and government) competing as a Division I track and field student-athlete. When I visited campus during the AU Admissions Multicultural Overnight, I fell in love with the campus, gained a best friend and knew that this was the place I could call home.

Q: Who were your sports idols growing up and why?
A: Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, I was a huge Spurs fan. Members of 1997 team, David "The Admiral" Robinson, Avery Johnson, Sean Elliott, and Vinny Del Negro were all people I admired. Of course, this was also Tim Duncan's rookie year. These basketball players engaged the community, using basketball as the mechanism to impact youth. I can still remember when Avery Johnson came to my middle school and gave us a pep staying in school.

Q: What was your proudest on-the-field accomplishment?
A: At the 2007 Patriot League Outdoor Track and Field Championships, my final collegiate track meet, I was able to throw my lifetime best in discus and secure the second spot on the American University Women's Outdoor Track and Field All-Time Top 10 list.

Q: What was your proudest academic accomplishment?
A: In my sophomore year, I was able to get my research, The Token Athlete: Sports and Performance-Enhancing Drugs, published at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Lexington, Va. At first, the review committee determined my topic was not timely; however, the next morning, news of Jose Canseco's use of anabolic steroids broke. The timing couldn't have been more perfect and the committee approved my research.

Q: How were you able to balance the demands in the classroom with the demands of being an athlete?
A: It definitely wasn't easy. Time management was my critical success factor. I used to carry a monthly planner everywhere I went, complete with color-coded stickers and pencil entries only. My advisors and mentors gave me the skills to prioritize and make choices. I was also motivated to not be required to attend study hall hours, which meant I had to be taking care of business in the classroom.

Q: How did your experience as a student-athlete prepare you for life after college?
A: I wouldn't be where I am today without my student-athlete experience. My experience at American University as a student-athlete began the domino effect on my own career in intercollegiate athletics that led me to my current position at the NCAA. I view my role as an athletic administrator as an opportunity to pay it forward by providing a positive experience to today's student-athletes.

Q: If you could go back to college and compete one more time, where would it be and against whom?
A: I would want to compete at the Prefontaine Classic at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Not only a track athlete's mecca, but where my head coach (Matt Centrowitz) set the American record in the 5000 meters in 1982.

Q: If you had to offer current student-athletes some words of wisdom what would they be?
A: Henry David Thoreau said, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler." As a student-athlete, you have a tremendous opportunity to be a positive agent of change. Embrace that opportunity, and use sports as the mechanism to share your experience with everyone around you.

Q: Do you still follow American University athletics?
A: Of course! Once an Eagle, always and Eagle! I'm at the point now that I don't recognize the names as much because the freshmen from my senior year have graduated, but that doesn't stop me from being a fan. Whenever the Eagles travel to the Midwest, I've tried my best to go out and support the teams.

Q: Looking back, what does it mean to you to have been a Patriot League student-athlete?
A: It was a privilege to be a Patriot League student-athlete! To me, it represents achievement, commitment, passion, service, and learning. One of the greatest questions to ask on an exit interview is, "If you could go back and do it all over again, would you do it?
" My answer would be ABSOLUTELY!