Parents: Matthew and Alison Vessie
High School: Corinth Holders
Also Considered: Mississippi, UNC Wilmington, Elon
Why ECU? “I felt a connection with the coaches and team there that I didn’t feel anywhere else. It’s a very supportive environment for athletics and they are the defending conference champions in track. I love both their track and cross country programs so it’s an ideal fit. And with the Pre-Med and biology program there, it’s everything I could ask for in a school.”
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Notable: Arden spent a lot of time and travel time choosing her college destination. She had more than 30 scholarship offers and visited 16 of those schools with her parents. … She’s already one of the most successful athletes in school history with her senior track and field season still to go. She has won multiple individual conference championships and competed in five state championship meets in cross country/track and field combined with a career best finish of second place in the 2014 NCHSAA 3A outdoor track and field championships at 3,200 meters. That is her favorite race so far since it included her career best time of 10 minutes, 52.31 seconds. A.C. Reynolds’ Anna Vess nipped her for the win at the finish line for the state title. “Yes, I lost the state championship by thirteen-hundredths of a second and I didn’t have time to mentally process running harder when she passed me so late, but it was the closest race of my life,” she said. “I wasn’t even angry about it. I had this overwhelming sense of happiness in a way. Because I’d been pushed the hardest I’ve ever been pushed, pushed myself harder than I ever have in any race.” …. She was fourth at 1,600 in the 2014 3A indoor state finals and fourth in the 3,200 in the 2013 1A/2A/3A indoor state championships. … Arden expects to run the 3,000 meters in track in college. … She didn’t get the greatest start running, recalling being cut from the middle school track and field team as a seventh grader. But (cue up the Michael Jordan story line) she trained hard going into her eighth grade year and started to enjoy running instead of crying when her mom encouraged her to go out and train. … She missed the 2014 cross country season while nursing a nagging Achilles injury heel. Not running on a normal schedule during that recovery period was the toughest thing she’s had to do, she said. (The injury is fully healed and she’s back on a normal training schedule for the indoor track season.) … Arden is most interested in going into surgical work or oncology when it comes time to pick a specialty. “I’ve always been interested in surgery and I’ve had a lot of family and friends in my life affected by cancer and I know what kind of struggle it can be,” she said. “I’d love to be able to help people in that area.”
Corinth Holders track and field coach Peter Clark: “Arden has been the most decorated athlete in our schools history. She has written the record book and is an incredible leader. Arden Vessie the person is just as brilliant."
Compiled by D. Clay Best