Cavalier All-American Dawn Cleary makes the transition into coaching after a very successful career at Virginia. A major part of the resurgence of the Cavalier women’s distance program, Cleary culminated her collegiate career with a school-record performance in the steeplechase, finishing sixth at the 2003 NCAA Championships. The following week, Cleary finished fifth at the USA National Championships in the same event. She concluded her Virginia career with the school record in the steeplechase and ranked in the top 10 in the 1500m and 5000m as well.
Cleary, who won the ACC title in the steeple in 2003, was the first American ACC athlete to break 10 minutes in that event and was ranked in the top 10 in the United States for both 2002 and 2003. She qualified for the NCAA meet in both 2002 and 2003 and was the ECAC runner-up in that event in 2001.
A member of the cross country team that moved into the top-10 in the nation after a 10-year hiatus, Cleary ran at nationals as Virginia finished ninth as a team in 2001, the highest finish since 1982 as a school. She also helped the Cavaliers return to the national meet in 2002, the first time since 1982 the Virginia women had gone to NCAAs in back-to-back years.
Cleary, a native of Woodbridge, Virginia, graduated from the University of Virginia in 2002 with a degree in Sociology and then earned her master’s degree from the Curry School of Education in 2003.