Cross-country college championship translates to success on the track for MCHS grad
July 2, 2012
“I had no idea (what I was going to run), so in indoor I ran the 3k, which is pretty close to the 2-mile. In outdoor they don’t have the 3k, so my coach put me in the (5,000-meter run), and that’s mostly what I ran all year.”
—Maddy Jourgensen, 2011 Moffat County High School graduate and incoming sophomore at Augustana College, about adjusting to running new events in college track
After being part of a national championship team, Maddy Jourgensen had already enjoyed a great deal of success for a college freshman.
She didn't let that go to her head, however, as Jourgensen still had two seasons of athletics competition ahead of her.
The 2011 Moffat County High School graduate is between her freshman and sophomore seasons at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. She runs cross-country and track for the Vikings.
During her freshman cross-country season, Jourgensen was good enough to run with the team at the Division II NCAA National Championships, where they won. Afterward, runners got to take a short break before coming back for indoor track.
Jourgensen had never run indoor track before last year, and that more or less will be the case going into her sophomore season. After running one 3,000-meter run at an indoor meet, Jourgensen was sidelined by leg injuries for the rest of the season.
"You're just not used to running year-round," said Jourgensen, who played basketball during the winter at MCHS. "I raced once and my IT band and my knee started acting up and I didn't race the rest of the season."
Jourgensen was healthy again for outdoor track, but still had to transition into a new race. Her favorite race from high school, the 3200-meter run, is not raced in college track.
"I had no idea (what I was going to run), so in indoor I ran the 3k, which is pretty close to the 2-mile," she said. "In outdoor they don't have the 3k, so my coach put me in the (5,000-meter run), and that's mostly what I ran all year."
Jourgensen was a 5,000-meter specialist for most of the season, but was asked to step up and run that and the 10,000-meter run at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championships.
The 10k, a distance Jourgensen had never run before, was intimidating at first, but she overcame it.
"I was really nervous because it was conference meet and kind of a big deal," she said. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It's more like the 2-mile in high school, everybody starts out slow and picks it up the last mile or so. It was fun. It went by a lot faster than the time the clock said."
MCHS cross-country and track coach, Todd Trapp, who coached Jourgensen during her time as a Bulldog, was impressed with Jourgensen's ability to adjust.
"Training for the 5k would have given her enough mileage and enough training to do a 10k," he said. "But to be successful with her pacing and being able to put herself in the right position is very impressive in a tough conference like that."
Jourgensen finished fourth at the conference in the 10k with a time of 38:31.51. She followed that up with an eighth place finish in the 5k, running 18:36.97. The Augustana women's team finished third in the meet.
With opportunities to race every weekend during the season and a new event under her belt, Jourgensen felt her freshman track season went well, and she is looking forward to the next one.
"I really liked track. Obviously winning nationals was cool in cross-country, but racing individually in track I thought was more fun," she said. "I thought it went pretty well."
Trapp had confidence she would be successful.
"She's just one of those kids that whatever they do, they want to do it as best as they can," he said. "She puts her full effort in to being successful. At the collegiate level, it's an everyday grind. You do something every day to make yourself better, and she can do that."
While in Craig for the summer, Jourgensen has been training on her own to stay in shape for her upcoming sophomore seasons. She said she mostly does distance runs and despite not having teammates to train with, has stayed consistent with her work.
"It's definitely better to have people with you, but I take my dog with me now, so she helps a little bit," Jourgensen said. "Once you get into a habit, though, it's fine."
As for next year, Jourgensen is hoping to continue to improve.
"In cross country I definitely want to make the national team again," she said. "In track I just want to improve on my times. I probably would like to run the 10k a little more even though its pretty long. It was a fun race and I feel like I'm better running longer distances."