Three members of the Trinity University cross country team recently raced their way through a competitive field of cross country runners at the Division III National Championship meet which was held in Winneconne, Wisconsin.
Senior Taylor Piske, a captain of the men’s team, and first year Oliver Langselius represented the Tigers in the men’s race while the women’s team was represented by sophomore Emma MacEachern.
In the men’s event, Langselius finished 149th out of 278 with his posted time of 25:46.50 while Piske finished 179th with a time of 25:56.10. MacEachern, who was under the weather for her race, finished 236th out of the 280 competitors with her time of 23:17:40.
Head cross country coach Emily Daum was especially pleased with her runners’ performances at the National meet.
“It was such a good learning experience for both Oliver and Emma with being so young,” Daum said. “Emma showed so much strength during her race, especially with the circumstances she had to overcome. Oliver recovered quickly from his fall and had the highest finish of any male Trinity runner at the national meet since 2008.”
Langselius, who is was named the SCAC newcomer of the year for his performance throughout the season, became tangled with a group of University of Chicago runners and tripped over other members of the group, but he remained unfazed by the incident.
“When something like that happens, you just have to adjust,” Langselius said. “Things like that happen. The same thing happened [to me at the Chile Pepper Invitational race earlier this season.]”
Similar to Langselius, Piske also had a note-worthy season, which was recognized by the SCAC after he was named the SCAC Runner of the Year, which, along with his other accomplishments this season, Daum is very proud of.
“Competing at nationals was the cherry on top of an already stellar year, Daum said. “It’s wonderful he was able to bookend his college career competing at the NCAA Championship meet.”
Piske, enjoyed running a carefree final race of his collegiate career as a member of the cross country team at the nationals meet.
“I came into nationals with all the weight off of my shoulders,” Piske said. “My goal since freshman year had always been to make it back, and I accomplished that. Finishing my career with the top 350 DIII runners in the country was all gravy, no stress.”
With Piske’s and Langeselius’ performances in the men’s 8k event, both of them wrote their way into the Trinity history books for posting top 10 finishes all time in the nationals meet.
“I couldn’t be much happier with how my cross country career ended. My name is probably gonna get bumped off (the top 10 list) eventually, Piske said. “But, I’m proud of myself just for getting it up there in the first place.”
As for the sole women’s representative at the National Championship meet, MacEachern did not finish as high as she was hoping for, but her ability to fight through her sickness proved the how tough of an individual she is, which Daum was especially proud of.
Daum mentioned that MacEachern had to stop less than a half mile into the two mile warm up run before her 6k race due to dizziness. Daum noted that at that point, it had come into question whether or not MacEachern would be able to compete in the event, let alone finish.
MacEachern also admitted that she too was questioning her ability to run in the race.
“The thought of not running crossed my mind several times as I felt dizzy and my mind felt
cloudy,” MacEachern said. “I had a mini panic attack, thinking I would finish last or have to drop out.”
MacEachern cited the hours of training she put in with the coaches and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) involvement in bringing her and the rest of the runners to Wisconsin to run in the championship meet as a major factor in enabling her to compete in the race.
“I told myself to stop being a wuss and just run,” MacEachern said. “As soon as I started, all the worry dissipated and I felt alright. When I finally crossed the finish line, I had the best feeling ever.”
MacEachern is aware that her experience would have been a more positive one, had she been completely healthy, but she is not letting the negative parts of her experience weigh on her too much.
“Even though I did not have a great time, just the fact that I had competed at Nationals with the fastest DIII girls in the nation was a great accomplishment,” MacEachern said. “I would have definitely regretted [it if I had not] run.”
With the nationals meet behind her, MacEachern mentioned, with her fingers crossed, she can now look forward to next year, where she hopes to be running at the nationals meet once more, but next time with the whole women’s team.
With the promising results from the young team this season, Daum is already looking forward to next year’s season.
“I’m very excited for both teams in what’s to come,” Daum said. “They are quite young, but are more determined than ever after the progress they made this year.”