Guest Post! Brianna Nerud: A Freshman at NCAAs

Being at NCAA’s has so far been unlike any competition I’ve ever experienced before. As a freshman, it definitely has to be a different kind of experience than my seasoned teammate, Lauren Penney, of which this will be her last NCAA experience as a collegiate athlete. I’ve had my fair share of racing experiences, as I was fortunate to have a good high school coach and be a part of a nationally ranked high school team, giving me some experience into the world of higher-level competition. Despite being able to compete at high-level competitions in the past, such as the Junior World Championships, being able to compete at the NCAA DI track and field Championships is similar in some ways, but also an entirely different type of experience. I was so happy to qualify for nationals in itself, and being here has definitely taught me some things about collegiate racing, as well as being a lot of fun. Eugene is a great city, being Track Town USA and all, it was inevitable as a tracklete that I would enjoy my time here, but being able to see Hayward Field, let alone being able to race there was extremely exciting and an unforgettable experience. The environment at a collegiate national championship is so uplifting and inspiring, not only being a collegiate runner, but for anyone! Just the energy here is enough to get you excited about running! Being able to witness people who are just like any of us, passionate people trying to achieve their goals, breaking records and winning national championships is enough to inspire anyone in my opinion. As for my race, the 3000m Steeplechase semifinals, it did not go nearly how I had hoped it would. I went into the race feeling a little tired the last couple days, so I guess I was nervous about that, let alone the general nervousness that comes with being a freshman racing at Hayward Field in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.  I fell off the pack about halfway through the race and I just couldn’t recover to finish in the top five and move on to the finals, missing my goal as I had hoped to qualify for the finals and see what I could do there, but gaining a lot of national championship and general racing, experience. Nevertheless as my coaches and my teammate Lauren told me after my disappointing race, these things happen. This sport is filled with disappointment and joy, but that is the nature of it and that’s why we love it, because the ups and downs are what remind us that there’s always another day to move forward and another opportunity to do what you love, run. Now, as my racing portion of this experience is complete, it is time to focus on another race tonight, Lauren Penney’s! I am so excited to watch her in the 5k tonight because she is one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever seen and one of the best teammates too! She can compete with anyone in that race and I know she will, I just can’t wait to get out there and cheer her on victory!! It has been a pleasure being a guest blogger in Lauren’s blog, and I’m sure her post race entry will be coming soon!!