Emily Oren ‘16 said she was able to stay with the pack, including Olympian Sheby Houlihan throughout the first mile of her two-mile run last weekend at the USA Indoor Track Cham­pi­onships. (Photo: Jim Oren / Courtesy)

Alumnae Emily Oren ‘16 and Kayla Caldwell ‘13 com­peted in the USA Track and Field Indoor Cham­pi­onships in Albu­querque, New Mexico, this weekend. This year’s com­pe­tition was the first indoor cham­pi­onship for Oren, while it was Caldwell’s fourth time com­peting in the event. 

Neither athlete placed in the top half of her event, with Oren placing eighth in the two mile and Caldwell placing 12th in the pole vault. Still, Oren had good things to say about the meet, and she told the Col­legian in an email that the meet was a cool oppor­tunity because it allowed her to run with the top ath­letes in the country.

“I got eighth out of the whole country, which is pretty cool, and I learned a lot,” Oren said. “I am looking forward to con­tinuing to try and improve on that placement at outdoor nationals and into the next indoor season.”

Oren said her race was tac­tical, with com­petitors running the first mile at “almost walking” pace. Those leading the race began to increase the pace at the mile, and Oren felt good enough to run with them. But after ini­tially keeping up, the lead group of runners, including Olympian Shelby Houlihan, began to drop her.

“The second half of the race was a little painful, and ini­tially I was dis­ap­pointed with the outcome,” Oren said. “But after talking with coach Joe, and my dad, and others, I realized it wasn’t that bad of a race.”

Joe Lynn, Oren’s post-col­le­giate coach and for­merly coached dis­tance runners at Hillsdale, said making the national meet was a big goal for Oren and that she learned from the expe­rience.

“In the end, I think she fell just short of where she wanted to place, but def­i­nitely walked away with some pos­itive expe­ri­ences to use in the future,” Lynn said. 

Hillsdale’s Head Track and Field Coach Andrew Towne said the program is proud to have its alumni com­peting at the highest levels of the sport, and he’s excited to see how they con­tinue to develop.

Looking ahead, Oren said she will probably open-up her outdoor track season in April, when she said she will likely run either a 5K or 1,500-meter race.