If I were to look back to my freshman year of high school, I would have never said that I’d be running at Middlebury. However, I am so incredibly grateful that I am now a freshman in college and running at Middlebury. I remember after finishing my freshman year of high school cross country, I was set on going to a big Division 1 school. Clearly, those ideas have changed. During my junior year, I had a revelation that I should look at some Division III schools during the college recruitment process. I started to realize that I wanted to be closer to home and attend a small liberal arts college. With a lot of help from my dad, I was able to make a large list of colleges that I was interested in. By the spring of my junior year, I knew that I wanted to attend a Division III NESCAC college. A Division III liberal arts college seemed like the perfect fit for me since I wanted to attend a school that would allow me to prioritize my academics while also continuing my love for competitive running. In the summer before my senior year, I was down to a few schools on my list. But, after visiting Middlebury, talking with the team, and talking with Coach Nicole and Coach Bruce, I knew that Midd was the place for me. I am so happy to be at Midd and cannot picture it any other way.
I moved into Middlebury on September 1st for the beginning of preseason. Preseason was awesome, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t super tiring. The training intensity was more than what I had been doing in high school. But thankfully Coach Nicole had a great summer training plan for me which allowed me to feel strong and ready once I arrived. Many of our days during preseason consisted of double practices, whether that be swimming, running, and lifting. I hadn’t doubled much prior to being at Midd, so it was a bit of an adjustment, but doubles are growing on me! Fortunately, because of the extra time during preseason our team also got to do some cool activities. Without a doubt one of the best parts of preseason was being able to spend extra time exploring the beautiful mountains and nature of Vermont. Being in Middlebury Vermont, lots of our preseason consisted of swimming at local gorges, waterfalls, and doing some cliff jumping into very cold mountain water. With that being said, my first weeks at Middlebury were super fun and allowed me to adjust to training and college life before school started!
Many people had warned me about the adjustment to college life. However, I felt as if I had a smooth transition into college. I think the reason the adjustment seemed easy was due to having an amazing team welcoming me from the minute I stepped foot on campus. The women on the team are so incredibly supportive and have been helping the other freshmen and I this entire time. Not only that, it is so fun to have your best friends become your teammates.
I am currently in my second week of the school year, and I am really enjoying finding my own routine. School is a lot of work but taking classes that I am truly interested in makes the workload feel much more manageable. Already, I really like my professors. The professors are super approachable, and the small class size is amazing. Middlebury is known for its small class sizes hence my biggest class (Intro to Biology) only has 22 students. My smallest class has 10 students, so it really allows me to be able to form connections and work with my classmates. Currently, my days have consisted of going to class, studying in the library, spending time in the athletic center, going to practice, and trying to get some sleep. Most days I leave my dorm room at 8:30 am and don’t get home till 10:30 pm, so the days are very busy!
In terms of racing, we have had two “racing experiences” in the past two weeks. Our first racing experience was a small meet at Vermont Tech. This race acted as a workout and the goal was to work together with our teammates. Nevertheless, putting on a Middlebury uniform for the first time was special. Last weekend, we had our one and only home meet. Once again, this race acted more as a workout, but it was my first 6k so that was super fun! As of right now, I can’t say I notice much of a difference between a 6k and 5k, but maybe as the season progresses, my thoughts will be subject to change. This upcoming weekend, we are racing at the Purple Valley Classic at Williams College. I can’t wait for this race as it will be the first real race of the season. Not only that, it will be great to race some other competitive Division III teams such as Williams, Tufts, MIT, and Hamilton. I am so excited to spike up, put on my Middlebury uniform and get back to cross country racing!
As I reflect on my time at Middlebury so far, I realize how grateful I am for the cross country community within New Hampshire. If it wasn’t for the amazing support from the NH Cross Country community, Coach Davis, Coach Daly, and my teammates I would not be able to be here. The NH Cross Country community is incredibly special to me, and I will forever be grateful for that. With that regard, I wish everyone competing this season good luck and have fun!!
GO MIDD, Roll Panthers!!!