Kristen Conklin-Sullivan is the type of athlete most of us spend our lives dreaming we can be. A four-sport varsity competitor at Suffern High School, she dominated on the soccer fields, was the uncontested queen of the softball diamond, strutted her stuff up and down the basketball courts, and lettered in field hockey as a freshman. She did this all with style, grace, and an innate competitive spirit that drove her teams to championships.
For most kids, soccer begins at the age of 5 with everybody swarming around the ball. For Kristen, the first time she played the game was much later on. She was a sophomore at Suffern High School and decided to give it a try. She was quickly moved from the JV squad to varsity, and from there, she never looked back. As the center forward, she was the team high scorer in both her junior and senior years, scoring 17 goals each season, with an additional 16 assists. Her senior year, she led the team to the Conference A crown. As a two-year captain, she was chosen as the MVP, a first team All-County player, and a first team All-Section player both seasons. In 1985, she was selected as a Journal News Scholar Athlete of the Week, and deemed the Rockland County Player of the Year.
Kristen’s softball career was storybook right from the get-go. She was a versatile player, tackling not only the pitcher’s mound, but playing her way around the infield as well as the outfield. Her impressive pitching career for the Mounties included three 1-hitters and a no-hitter. As a four- year varsity player, she was twice named to the All-County team as well as the All-Section team. Her sophomore season, she was named the Most Improved Player, and then during her junior and senior years, she was not only the team captain but was also the undisputed MVP.
Kristen graduated Suffern in 1986, and took her talents to St. Thomas Aquinas College on an athletic scholarship. She played four years on their Division II softball team, and stood out as an All-Star on their Conference championship team. She had an impressive career 2.29 ERA as a starting pitcher, striking out an incredible 164 batters. She pitched an inconceivable six no-hitters in her tenure. She was also a powerhouse at the plate, with a cumulative four-year slugging percentage of .458, a .333 batting average, and 79 RBI. Kristen was not only the first, but still the only player in STAC history to be named for four straight seasons to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference first team, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics first team, and the All-Tournament first team. She was a two-year captain and two-year MVP, and to this day is the only pitcher in STAC history to throw a perfect game.
After graduating from STAC, Kristen went on to receive a master’s degree in Elementary Education at Iona College. She
stayed on at STAC as their assistant softball coach for two seasons before sharing duties as a co-head coach, and eventually became the head coach in 1996. She was named the CACC Coach of the Year in 1998. At the same time, she also started the women’s soccer program at STAC in 1994. She coached the team for three years, initiating a program that is successfully running today.
Kristen resigned from coaching in 1998 to start a family in Suffern with her husband, Keith. They have three beautiful children, Taylor, 12, Kyle, 10, and Kasey, 9. In 2007, she returned to STAC in the role of pitching coach, determined to continue to share her talents with the next generation. She divides her time between collegiate sports and private pitching instruction for young girls ages 7 to 22. Many of her students have gone on to receive college scholarships of their own. Kristen is also the head coach of her daughter Taylor’s 12-and- under Hudson Valley Hurricanes team, who are excitedly heading to nationals this year with hopes of finishing in the Sweet 16. She is an active coach with the Suffern Little League, as well as with Ramapo ASA. She continues to play softball with the Orangetown Women’s League, as well as participate in a co-ed league. She is an avid golfer, and has passed her love of athletics, as well as her talent, onto her children. Kristen has devoted her life to sports and the excitement and fulfillment that being a part of a team can give to kids with the heart and passion to succeed.