, Newburyport, MA


February 1, 2014

Little making waves

Seabrook's Ashante Little a standout athlete, mentor at Wheaton College


“Without question it is one of the best individual performances I’ve seen over a track and field weekend,” Cusano said. “To run eight races in four days, to earn a PR, to be a four-time All-American and national champion, it was amazing.”

Little also qualified for the 200 meter dash, but opted not to run – a decision not lost on Cusano. “When we were talking about what would be beneficial at the NCAAs, Ashante was completely selfless,” he recalled. “She could’ve said she wanted to do the three individual events, but she didn’t. She was all about the team, the team score and her teammates having the best weekend they could. It was such a selfless act.”

Little admits to being a bit naive when it came time for her to apply to colleges, and credits her guidance counselor for steering her through the process. She also sings the praises of the academic support team at Wheaton, not that she has needed much – she earned a 3.4 last semester – but it has had such an impact that she plans to pursue academic advising as a career.

Little even spearheaded a mentorship program at Wheaton where the upper-class student-athletes meet with the freshmen and transfers on a regular basis to provide academic support and guidance.

“I wasn’t very educated about the process of applying to colleges. I would’ve been lost without help with my college applications,” noted Little, who is majoring in African, African-American and Diaspora Studies. “I’m very passionate about college athletics and academic advising. It’s something I want to pass on to somebody.”

Said Cusano, “She has singlehandedly started this program. It’s become her driving force. It’s her dream job. We’re a small liberal arts institution, so we don’t have a full-time person devoted to academic advising. I think it’s great. And she has really built it.”

More impressive, Little was recently chosen to serve on the University’s Presidential Search Committee, a 15-person panel.

“That’s a testament to her character,” Cusano noted. “For me being a coach, that’s as impressive as being a nine-time All-American and a national champion.”

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