Senior Taylor Piske, first-year Oliver Langselius and sophomore Emma MacEachern will race alongside hundreds of the top D-III runners from across the country on November 21 in Winneconne, Wisconsin. This marks the first time each of these three runners have the chance to compete individually at the national championships.
When asked about the upcoming race, the final event of her sophomore season, MacEachern commented, “Nationals is the biggest DIII race and I’m really honored and psyched to represent the Trinity Tigers. I also can’t wait to see what free stuff they give us before and after the race.”
Piske echoed MacEachern’s enthusiasm.
“Finishing my cross country career running nationals on a really fast course is going to be a sweet experience, but I’m probably most excited about all the free stuff they’re going to give me as well,” Piske said.
Perhaps an individual national championship trophy is one of the many things Piske, Langselius, and MacEachern intend to bring home with them in addition to all of their “free race stuff” from Wisconsin.
Piske and his teammate Langselius qualified for the national meet by finishing in sixth and seventh in the men’s 8K regional race at the Kernstown Battlefield in Virginia.
Piske clocked in three seconds in front of his freshman teammate with a time of 26:06.7, while Langselius was right on his heels to finish in 26:09.
“The course at Battle Park struck fear into us all. It was easily the hilliest, most punishing course I’ve ever run. It’s a course like that that really tests a team’s true grit. We had to be at our best, mentally to succeed,” Piske said.
Succeed they did, as the Trinity men’s team placed third (their second-highest finish in history) with 100 points. The men narrowly missed the team qualifications for nationals, falling just short of Emory University, who won the men’s race with 86 points, and Christopher Newport University finished in second place, with 96.
Junior Austin Brown finished 17th in the men’s event and was part of the All-Region Team. Sophomore Michael Erickson came in at number 20 and also earned All-Region accolades.
On the women’s side, MacEachern placed eighth in the women’s 6K, clocking in at 22:48.9. Led by MacEachern the women’s team claimed the fourth place team spot with 136 points.
“The course was indeed very hilly, windy and cold. I was honestly worried that I was going to be battling the course more than my fellow competitors. Thankfully, I raced smart, going out conservatively and gradually moving my way up,” MacEachern said.
Sophomore Melissa Whitman finished 24th in the women’s race, and first-year Molly McCullough came in at 26th, allowing both to claim All-Region honors in addition to MacEachern.
The women’s team that competed at Regionals was extremely young, consisting of only first years and sophomores. This, however, did not keep the Tigers from being extremely competitive this season as they finished in second at the conference meet a few weeks ago.
“I think our success this season can be attributed to our closeness in age,” MacEachern said. “We also all have different strengths, and by training together, we are able to teach each other and create an overall killer team.”
In preparation for nationals, MacEachern has a unique strategy that she swears by. In order to fight against the cold racing temperatures, MacEachern was taught by cross-country head coach Emily Daum to put olive oil on her legs as insulation.
This trick and her months of preparation will be put to the test this Saturday in Wisconsin as she, Piske and Langselius race against the nation’s top DIII runners.