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.