BSELS Celebrates National Girls & Women in Sports: Kristen Spulecki & Emily Renna

As I wrote yesterday, BSELS is celebrating NGWSD by spotlighting female sports figures in the community and sharing their stories. Today, we are recognizing Kristen Spulecki & Emily Renna.

Kristen Spulecki

What do you do for a living?

I am an attorney.

What sport(s) did you play and what was the highest level you played at? 

Ice hockey, NCAA DII.

If you played at the collegiate/professional level, where did you play?

Saint Michael’s College, Vermont.

What is your proudest athletic achievement? 

My team won the Empire State Games gold medal in 2010 (high school), and I was athlete of the week a couple of times in college.

How have sports impacted your personal life?

Sports have taught me how to be a team player, how to play against adversity and to never give up no matter the circumstances. I have learned how to lead a team, how to (and how not to) communicate with difficult coaches, and how to properly teach those players younger than me. I have grown physically, mentally, and emotionally from the game, through winning and losing. I have had friends and teammates become family through sport. I have learned that sports are an escape from our everyday issues, both personal and public. I have learned how to address and talk about mental illness / mental health through hockey, my teammates, and trainers.

How have sports impacted your professional life?

I have learned how to best communicate with “opponent” attorneys. I have learned how to advocate for others through the lessons I’ve learned being a captain of a team. I have learned that winning or losing isn’t everything. I was able to join the UB women’s club team while in law school, as I had an extra year of eligibility from college – I was learning to become a professional while still feeling like a kid playing the sport I love and attending Nationals in Texas!

What is your connection to sports now?

I am a level 4 USA Hockey Coach. I am training for the 11 Day Power Play, a hockey game-centered fundraiser where I will be playing hockey for 11 days straight, living at the rink, and raising money for cancer research, awareness, and wellness programs. I recently worked for Hasek’s Heroes, where we provide underprivileged children in the city of Buffalo with free equipment, teach them how to skate, and get the older children involved in scrimmages and gameplay. I am an assistant coach for the high school varsity team I helped start back in 2010-2011, where I was the team’s first captain.

If you could give advice to a younger generation of female athletes, what would it be?

Don’t ever give up on a sport you love. You can truly become a professional hockey player if you want to, an opportunity that players my age never had. Life goes by faster than you think, so enjoy every early practice, every away game and tournament, and savor the the present as best you can.

Emily Renna

What do you do for a living?

I currently am a Clinical Research Associate for Regenxbio.

What sport(s) did you play and what was the highest level you played at? 

Track and Field – NCAA DI; Bobsled (Bobsleigh) – Professional (USA).

If you played at the collegiate/professional level, where did you play?

Track and Field at the University of Rhode Island, Professional Level Bobsleigh for Team USA.

What is your proudest athletic achievement? 

Returning to sports and making the US National Bobsled Team.

How have sports impacted your personal life?

I’ve been involved in sports pretty much my entire life. It’s brought me some of my closest friends, taken me to different countries, and really challenged me physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s allowed me to become comfortable being uncomfortable and the opportunity to achieve my dream of being and Olympian.

How have sports impacted your professional life?

Sports teaches you a lot of important life skills and good qualities to have as a person including perseverance, resiliency, and the ability to work as a team. I take all of these into the workplace and apply them to my work. There’s always challenges where these and other qualities are needed.

What is your connection to sports now?

I currently compete for Team USA as a bobsledder!

If you could give advice to a younger generation of female athletes, what would it be?

Enjoy the sport you’re playing, have fun, and never let your personal doubts or anyone else’s doubts of you hold you back from your dreams.

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