By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
COLUMBUS — Kassie Lee’s record-setting career on the Captial University women’s track and field team may not have ended the way she intended.
But, the former Lehman Catholic standout can definitely say she went out on a high note.
The Capital senior turned in an amazing indoor season, setting a school record in the weight throw and finishing in the top 30 in the nation (D-III) in the shot put, nearly qualifying for nationals.
“I wanted to go out on a high note and I definitely did that,” the daughter of Kris and Peg Lee, said.
And her performance didn’t go unnoticed.
“She worked her butt off this year,” Capital women’s track and field coach Hannah Weiss said. “She made crazy improvement in the shot put from a year ago. She improved almost two meters, which is amazing. I think her drive and work effort really drove her to be able to do that.”
Lee doesn’t disagree with her coach.
“We had a new (throws coach) this year,” Lee said about Taryn Chapman. “She really helped with our strength and lifting. And it was my senior year. I am not saying I didn’t give it everything all the other years, but you want your senior year to be special.”
Lee had set a school record in the hammer throw last spring of 47.59 meters,
Lee, whose best put in the shot put had been 11.65 meters coming into the indoor season, got better with each event.
In her last two events, she had a distance of 13.10 meters at the All-Ohio meet and 13.17 at the Ohio Northern Last Chance meet, fourth best in program history.
Earlier in the indoor season, she set the weight throw record of 15.53 meters.
It led to her being named to the USTFCCCA All-Regional honors list.
“I wanted to go out on a high note and I did that in the last two meets — first at the All-Ohio meet and then at the Last Chance meet. I was trying to qualify for nationals, but I came up a few inches short.”
Little did she know that was the last time she would wear a Captial uniform. And when the outdoor season was cancelled because of the Corona Virus, it hit Lee hard.
“I am not a person that cries very much, but when I got the news (about the season being cancelled) I was bawling,” Lee said. “I understood why it had to happen. I guess after I got over the disappointment (it felt good to know she went out on a high note).”
Maybe Lee’s best quality was not her outstanding performance, but what she brought to the team.
“Kassie (Lee) was very good at calling people out when they needed to be called out,” Weiss said. “I think that is what made her a terrific team leader. As a nursing major, Kassie had a lot on her plate, but she always made time to be the best athlete and team leader she could be.”
Lee said that is something that just comes natural to her.
“I think some people may find me intimidating because of my size,” Lee said. “But, I am not trying to be. I just like to keep it real.”
And she knew how to approach teammates if she felt they weren’t giving it their all.
“I would just say, ‘look I know you have goals, but you are not going to get there with what you are doing now’,” Lee said. “I would suggest us going over to the weight room or put extra work in, whatever it takes to get them where they want to be.”
Capital has become a special place for the Lee family.
Kassie’s older brother Kris is an assistant coach after playing there and her younger brother Kam is on the football team.
“When they say Cap Fam (Capital Family) they mean it,” Lee said with a laugh.
Ironically, it almost never happened for Kassie.
“I didn’t want to go to Capital,” she said. “My older brother (Kris) was going there and I said I was never going to go to school where my older brother was. I had been going to school with him my whole life.”
But, she is glad she changed her mind.
“It has been amazing,” she said. “Even though it ended the way it did (with the coronavirus cancelling the spring season), it has been a wild ride and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
And she leaves knowing she went out on a high note.
Contact Rob Kiser at [email protected].
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