Favorite athlete: Alex Morgan and Sydney McLaughlin
Favorite team: The Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: Anchoring andwinning the Penn Relays Freshman 4x100 and medaling at States my sophomore year in the 4x800.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Falling in my open 800 at the Meet of Champs at Lehigh University.
Music on mobile device: I love all music; from rap to pop to country.
Future plans: Study marketing and finance at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State.
Words to live by: “One moment of pain is a lifetime of glory.”
One goal before turning 30: Complete a triathlon.
One thing people don’t know about me: I have a twin brother named Ryan.
By Mary Jane Souder
Kiernan Hutchinson was looking forward to closing out her high school soccer career on a high note. With her sights set on a collegiate track career, the fall season would be the Central Bucks East senior’s final go round with close friends she’d played soccer with since second grade.
“I knew it was my last season, and I wanted to give it my all every game,” Hutchinson said. “Playing with the people I’ve been playing with for so long, I think that’s what helped me push so hard this season for them.”
Things didn’t exactly go as planned. In the Patriots fifth game of the season against Souderton, Hutchinson went down after a collision with an opposing player.
“Me and a girl were both going for an open ball on the field, and we were both running full force,” she said. “We collided with each other. My leg got caught on hers and twisted. I just fell to the ground.
“I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t positive I tore my ACL. I had some hope.”
An MRI confirmed her worst fears. Hutchinson had torn her ACL.
“The result was a completely ruptured ACL, so that was heartbreaking because I’d been playing with these girls ever since second grade, and it was my senior year of high school,” Hutchinson said. “I was having one of the best seasons of my life.”
The Patriots went on to win just five games and missed out on a postseason bid in a rare subpar season.
Coach Paul Eisold would be the last to make excuses for the disappointing season, but the veteran coach acknowledged that losing Hutchinson proved costly for reasons that could easily go unnoticed.
“What she contributed was a work rate that really was modeled for the rest of the team,” Eisold said. “She worked tremendously hard, was always fit, had a desire to learn and was easy to coach. She was just a great kid in terms of wanting to improve.
“We lost a piece of our season when she went down because she was such a contributor in terms of how to work hard and how not to quit, and we never got that piece back. We really struggled last year a little bit with not having her. It definitely affected us.”
Working hard is something Hutchinson is doing a lot of these days. Instead of going the usual route of reconstructive surgery, the East senior opted for an alternative solution.
“That was a big decision, whether to get surgery or not,” Hutchinson said. “My mom and I went from doctor to doctor and talked to a bunch of people.
“I really wanted to make sure that I needed the surgery. We started talking to doctors, and they said a lot of people end up living without their ACLs or get ACL surgery later in their life.
“I went to a clinic at the University of Delaware. It’s their physical therapy department, which is amazing. I did a lot of physical therapy, I did a lot of testing. They tested my strength, and they said since I was very fit and strong just to keep my strength up because the muscles around my ACL will be able to compensate for not having one at all. I’ve been working really hard to stay strong. I did CrossFit, and I’ve been running a little bit on the treadmill.”
Hutchinson initially hoped she would be able to return to the soccer pitch if the Patriots advanced to the postseason. That didn’t happen.
“It was heartbreaking, but it taught me a lot of lessons,” she said of biding her time on the bench. “It taught me that I can be a leader on the bench even when I’m not on the field.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries throughout my track career and throughout my soccer career. I sprained my foot last year during soccer and had a lot of shin splints, so that’s taught me perseverance, stay strong and just be tough. I’ve always pushed through and been very motivated.
“This soccer season was super special for me. Even tearing my ACL, it was amazing. Our team was the closest we have ever been.”
“She came back and supported the girls,” Eisold said. “She came to practices, she came to games, and she definitely contributed vocally and that kind of thing.
“It’s one of those things – you don’t realize it at the time, but when you look at your season, you’re like ‘Where did we miss the mark this year?’ And losing Kiernan, I feel, was a big part of us not being as successful as we probably could have been because she did influence the girls in terms of her physicality and her work ethic.”
Soccer and track were two of four sports Hutchinson competed in as a youngster. Soccer came first when she was four years old, and she also swam and played basketball. In fourth grade, she began running CYO track with Our Lady of Guadalupe. She also competed in soccer at the club level, joining her friends on the Buckingham United Banshees.
A three-year varsity player in soccer, Hutchinson, according to Eisold, had some big moments as a sophomore reserve and was a fixture in the starting lineup as a junior.
“Track was my main thing,” she said. “My mom ran track for Penn State, and my goal was to run track at Penn State.
“I’m still going to try and work towards that even with my ACL. I’m going to try and run this last track season and see if I can run in college.”
Hutchinson – whose specialty is the 800m - burst onto the scene at CB East.
“She did CYO track in middle school and came to CB East with a lot of talent,” coach Sam Losorelli said. “She proved it by anchoring the freshman 4x100 team that won the Penn Relays, and that’s a real plus.
“Her sophomore year she was very instrumental with her talent in helping the team get to states in the 4x800 relay. She was very supportive and encouraging of her teammates.”
As a sophomore, the 4x800 relay team medalled at states, finishing seventh – an accomplishment Hutchinson points to as the high point of her track career. She has been to states with the relays all three years in both winter and spring track.
Whether she will be able to compete in track remains to be seen, but Hutchinson is optimistic.
“For right now, my knee’s been pretty stable, more stable than I thought, especially because it’s completely torn,” she said. “I’m going to see how it goes this spring.
“It’s always been my dream to run at Penn State, so if I can get to that, I’d love to do it. If not, it is what it is, but I’m going to try and really work hard and get into shape to run this spring to see if I’ll be able to. I still have to see though.”
Outside of the athletic arena, Hutchinson is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council and Key Club at East and is involved with Athletes Helping Athletes. Volunteering is also an important piece of her life. She has volunteered her time at the NOVA Thrift Shop and has collected food and gift cards for the Shelter for Homeless. Hutchinson has collected shoes in the community and donated them to Soles4Souls.
She also excels in the classroom and is taking four AP classes this year after taking four last year as well. The East senior has been accepted into the prestigious Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. She’s also been accepted at South Carolina, Delaware, Pitt, Clemson and Temple. Hutchinson is waiting to hear back from Villanova and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
She will major in marketing and then pursue her dream job of working for a large corporation in a metropolitan area like New York City or Philadelphia, but for now, she is pursuing another dream – continuing her track career this spring and beyond that.