Harvard senior Cathy Griffin likes stress. In fact, she thrives on it.
For the past four years, the Harvard women's track and field team has depended upon Griffin to perform well in all her events, which include the hammer throw, shot put, 20-Ib. weight throw and discus.
And the Kirkland resident, one of the premier collegiate throwers in the nation, has rarely disappointed.
"There have been times that I've let the pressure get to me," Griffin says, "and I choked. I didn't throw as well as I could have.
"But I've learned to cope with the pressure. This year especially, I've really learned to use the expectations as extra motivation to do my best," she says.
While most of her fellow graduates are celebrating their departure from school, Griffin continues to put in long, draining hours practicing across the river.
The soft-spoken, hard-working senior just went to the NCAA championships in Austin, Texas, and is about to compete at the Canadian Olympic trials this month.
She plans to spend the next year training with a coach in Ottawa in anticipation for a possible bid at the 1996 Olympics.
"I would like to push my strength up," the Ontario native says. "That's something that hasn't developed as well as I wanted it to. I'll see how the training progresses, and if it goes well, I might try for' 96."
Four years ago, Griffin never dreamed this much was possible.
"I didn't come [to Harvard] sure that I could go to the Olympics or even if I wanted to," Griffin says. "I just wanted to see how far I could go or whether I'd fizzle out."
The anthropology concentrator did anything but fizzle out. In fact, she was nothing short of spectacular.
Griffin ended her senior year, for example, leading the Harvard women's squad to an unexpected second-place finish at the heptagonal Championships. She won three events and set meet records in two of them. These victories raised her total Heps titles to nine.
Harvard recruited Griffin for her exceptional throwing abilities, which she cultivated during intensive individual training throughout high school.
When she arrived here, Griffin was forced to adjust to a program which stressed team performance over individual accomplishments.