Assistant Athletic Director Hillary Kigar was inducted into the University of San Francisco’s Athletics Hall of Fame on February 22 as a member of the 2009 women’s cross country team that won the university’s first-ever West Coast Conference cross country championship.
Kigar, who graduated from USF in 2012, was a sophomore during the historic season when the Dons held off Loyola Marymount by seven points to claim the championship. Individually, Kigar captured fourth place and earned All-WCC honors that season. And, at the NCAA West Regional Championships that season, the Dons captured their first ever top ten finish as a team, taking 10th place.
That first conference championship proved to be the beginning of a dynasty for the Dons who would go on to win the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 WCC Championship.
During her collegiate running career Kigar posted best times of 4:37.90 in the 1,500m; 9:50.64 in the 3,000m; 16:57.71 in the 5,000m; and 35:38.90 in the 10,000m.
Kigar is honored to be a member of the USF Athletic Hall of Fame. “I have a lot of pride in having helped establish a legacy that has continued,” she said.
She continues to hold fond memories of her collegiate athletic experience – even the day-to-day grind of practice. “I really enjoyed the connection and camaraderie with the other girls on the team, and remember how much fun we had going to ‘work’.”
Today, in her fifth year at O’Dowd, Kigar is cultivating a new generation of runners, serving as the Dragons’ head cross country coach and distance coach for track.
“I was really inspired by the impact my college coach had on me and wanted to do that for other young people – especially girls,” Kigar said.
Encouraging young runners to believe in themselves and realize the value of hard work is a key priority for her as a coach. “Running is great in that way because there is no play time. Everybody gets to go out there and be better than they were last week,” she said.
Kigar also hopes to foster a lifelong love of the sport. “Running is unique in that you don’t need a field, a ball, or other people. You can go on a three-mile run every day for the rest of your life,” she said.