Kaylee Gravel, a senior at East Hampton High School, signing her Letter of Intent to run cross-country and track at Central Connecticut State University. Gravel is pictured with her coaches, Ken Landry (l) and Bill Wilkie.
East Hampton High School senior Kaylee Gravel recently signed her National Letter of Intent, accepting an athletic scholarship to run both cross-country and track at Central Connecticut State University.
“I’m beyond excited to announce that I’ll be furthering my academic and athletic career at CCSU,” Gravel announced on Instagram in February. “So thankful for my family, friends, and coaches who have helped me get to where I am today! Can’t wait for the next four years! Go Blue Devils!”
Gravel, a three-season runner, is in the middle of her final athletic season as a member of the Bellringers’ outdoor track and field team. She also runs cross-country in the fall and recently earned all-state in February for her performance during the indoor track and field season.
This spring, Gravel and the indoor team are looking to defend their state title after winning the Class S state championship a year ago, defeating powerhouse Bloomfield in dramatic fashion.
Gravel earned an individual Class S state title a year ago, winning the 800 meters as a junior and said she is hoping to duplicate that feat this spring.
“It’s really awesome,” Gravel said about being part of such a talented and close team at EHHS. “A lot of the girls have worked really hard and we’ve all connected really well, even with the guys’ team. The groups push and motivate each other.”
She added that the team has several younger girls that have stepped up early in the season, giving them an extra edge this spring.
Gravel, who is fresh off an outdoor Class S state championship in the 1000 meters in February, is comfortable running any distance—including the 1600 and 3200 meters.
Her journey to CCSU started back when her father Greg Gravel, an avid runner, talked her into running some local races in the area. Later she joined the cross-county team at East Hampton Middle School and quickly fell in love with the endurance sport.
“It’s something I enjoy doing. It’s not a hassle to go running,” Gravel said. “It’s definitely relaxing and takes my mind off of things.”
Running, along with the hours of training devoted to running, takes up a majority of her time at EHHS. However, she is also part of the school’s Interact Club and has played travel softball. She said she will miss “the team and the people” the most at the high school.
At CCSU, she’ll be joining a steady and competitive Blue Devils team led by head coach Eric Blake, who has been coaching both the men’s and women’s programs at Central for over a dozen years.
Gravel said that close friend Jake Ireland, who is a 2020-graduate of East Hampton High School and now a runner at CCSU, was a driving force behind her looking into the New Britain-based school.
Her mom Lisa Gravel is also a Central-alum, which also factored into her decision.
“I was looking out of state but then scheduled a visit to go there to meet coach Blake and some of the team and really ended up really liking it. I was really surprised,” said Gravel, who has lived in East Hampton her entire life. “I felt at home when I went. I discussed it with my parents and I thought it was a really nice fit. They have lots of options for academics.”
At Central, Gravel will major in exercise science and may pursue a minor in nutrition as well.
She said she wants to experience everything that college has to offer, adding, “I am looking forward to competing against new people and seeing where I can go. I’m excited about the team and making new friends.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin