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Track 4-2-15

 

Rising senior Emily Oren accom­plished what few track ath­letes ever have at the Division II level this past season: in recog­nition of her success, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Asso­ci­ation named her the D‑II Women’s Track Athlete of the Year on May 27.

“The USTFCCCA rec­og­nizes how well you ran at the meet and throughout the whole season. All my hard work is getting rec­og­nized, which is great,” Oren said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to get it because there were a lot of really good ath­letes this year.”

Oren fol­lowed up a suc­cessful indoor season in which she won two national titles and Athlete of the Year honors with two national titles during the 2015 outdoor season. With her cham­pi­onship time of 9:54.43 in the 3000-meter steeple­chase at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Cham­pi­onships on May 22, she became just the third woman in the history of D‑II track to run the steeple­chase in under 10 minutes.

The next day, she won the 5000 meters with a time of 16:36.10 to win her second D‑II title in as many days. Her time of 16:17.40 in the same race at the Mt. SAC Relays earlier in the year was the fastest in the country.

“Emily per­son­ifies our program,” head coach Andrew Towne said. “She is very intel­ligent and tal­ented, but what sep­a­rates her is her drive. She is truly com­mitted to excel­lence.”

In addition to her achieve­ments during the Outdoor Cham­pi­onships, Oren’s 4:18.16 time in the 1500 meters during the Gina Relays was the ninth-fastest time in D‑II history.

“I like to take each race as if it’s just any other race,” Oren said. “I def­i­nitely put myself out there to win these races more so than other races some­times, so in that sense it was a little dif­ferent, but I like to keep it con­sistent.”

Oren still has one year of NCAA eli­gi­bility ahead of her, and despite all she has already accom­plished, she still has lofty goals set for herself and her team.

“Going into the cross-country season, our team is obvi­ously really tal­ented, so I just want to see us do really well at that level again,” Oren said. “I just want to maintain what I’ve been doing and con­tinue to run faster and see the program keep pro­gressing.”

“Our goal for her, as with anyone in our program, is to fully reach her potential,” Towne said. “We con­stantly talk about excel­lence in our program and we ask that every member of our program give their absolute best.”

Oren’s team­mates appre­ciate her ded­i­cation.

“She is always pushing herself at practice, and I know she is doing every­thing outside of practice to better herself,” said junior Corinne Zehner, who runs the 400 meter hurdles. “She has really taken every­thing in her life to the next level and it shows in her times.”

Cur­rently, Oren is training to run the steeple­chase in a couple of other meets this summer.

“I’m on the bubble for qual­i­fying for the USA Cham­pi­onships, so I need to run four seconds faster to be assured a spot there,” Oren said. “I don’t know where I’m racing yet, but I’m going to race and hope­fully qualify for that.”

The USA Cham­pi­onships is a world’s qual­ifier meet where anyone from college ath­letes to pro­fes­sional ath­letes with qual­i­fying times can race.

Ulti­mately, Oren wants to qualify for the Olympic trials next year in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really would like to qualify for the Olympic trials next year so that’s my big overall goal,” Oren said. “I’m right on the verge of doing it.”

Oren has rep­re­sented the Hillsdale Track and Field program well. Perhaps someday she will do the same for her country.