Written by Alexis Barton
After four years of success with the indoor and outdoor women’s track & field teams, Kaillee Philleo is taking some time to reflect on both her academic and athletic career as her time at Roanoke draws to a close. Kaillee, a native of Syracuse, NY, originally came to Roanoke in the midst of the Cregger Center being built to meet with former cross country and track & field coach Finn Pincus. Despite the huge amounts of construction going on to build the home of Philleo’s future athletic career, she knew as soon as she stepped on campus that Roanoke was the place for her. “As cliché as it sounds, stepping onto this campus just felt right, and after countless other campus visits to other schools, that was a huge relief. All in all, the campus was beautiful, the people were kind, and I just knew I wanted to call Roanoke home for the next four years”. Since the fall of 2017, the Cregger Center and classrooms alike have watched Kaillee build up her career as a sprinter, musician, student, and young woman.
Looking back on her career, there are a number of memories that Philleo cites as influencing her time here at Roanoke. One event that was perhaps most memorable was the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships in 2019. “This was my first major college personal record and as soon as I finished my race, my teammate Claire Aurand ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug as we were both so excited to finally see me PR”. Beyond her personal record, that event also held some personal meaning for Philleo. “At this meet, I met ‘ODAC’, a cute little black Newfoundland pup that just so happened to be looking for a home. I thank ‘ODAC’ (aka mine and Zachary’s future pup Moosie) for my good race that day”. After facing a series of injuries during her senior year of high school, Philleo faced an uphill battle coming into her career with the Maroons. During her first three years at Roanoke, she faced a “plateau”, as she describes, where she was not achieving success on the level that she had originally imagined. During that time, Kaillee learned that, “…being fully invested and interested in something is far more important than the amount of success you receive from just working hard at something”. During her final season, she has seen her efforts pay off and has reached a number of personal records with the team this year.
In addition to her numerous accomplishments with the track & field team, Kaillee has also reached great levels of success in the classroom. As a Psychology-Criminal Justice double-major, she has faced rigorous coursework over the past four years, but has risen to the occasion time and time again. Among her greatest achievements are presenting at the national psychology convention and being granted membership to both the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Upon her graduation, Kaillee is looking forward to utilizing her experiences from Roanoke to pursue a career in forensic or clinical psychology.
With just over a month left until her graduation, Kaillee’s final message to her friends, family, and teammates is simple. “Never give up, do the things you love, and don’t be afraid to fail sometimes. If you really enjoy something, stick with it, and know that failure is just the first step in making progress, so stick with it and know that it gets better and eventually all your hard work will pay off. Also, stop sometimes and just smell the flowers, watch the sunrise/sunset, and most importantly enjoy life”.