Photo By Hillary Ehlen
Emma Kusch Dahle is a captain for the NDSU women’s cross country team who also competes for the track and field program. Despite having no seniors on the roster, the Bison cross country team has high hopes this season after narrowly taking second in the Summit League Championships last year. They placed their top five runners in the top 13 overall, scoring 48 points. South Dakota scored 43 points to win the title, the closest team race in the league since 2010.
Bison Illustrated talked with Kusch Dahle about her path to NDSU, her training and expectations this season.
Bison Illustrated: What was your recruiting process like and what made you decide to come to NDSU?
Emma Kusch Dahle: “I was recruited around my junior year of high school. I’m from Winnipeg and Fargo was pretty close to home. Ryun (Godfrey) was still the head coach at the time. (Former Bison standout) Erin Teschuk was from Winnipeg, too, so I kind of knew her and looked up to her in high school. I knew that she had success here at NDSU, and I wanted to stay close to home for college. So I looked at NDSU and when I visited, I really liked the coaches and the atmosphere here, so I decided to come.”
BI: Did running in Canada present any recruiting challenges or do a number of high school Canadian runners compete at U.S. universities?
EKD: “A lot of the Canadian runners’ goals are to come to the NCAA just to get that experience and that level of competition. It’s definitely competitive in Canada, but it’s next-level running in the NCAA, especially Division I.”
Staying In Shape
BI: What do you do during the summer to stay in shape? Do you have specific workout routines?
EKD: “People don’t realize that summer isn’t much of a break. That’s when we run our highest mileage and get that base training in. We get to the fall and our first meet is almost right away. You can’t come in out of shape. We just build up our miles and our strength. Andrew (Carlson, distance coach) sends us the training plan. We’re all from different places around the Midwest so it’s up to us to stay focused, stay disciplined and know that this hard training will pay off in the fall.”
BI: Does having a good diet play an important role in a runner’s success?
EKD: “Nutrition is one of the key components we focus on. You have to fuel your body right with enough food. Making sure that you recover and refuel as well. Training is just a part of the bigger picture.”
BI: With your improvements from your freshman to sophomore season, does that confidence carry over to this year?
EKD: “Yeah, and since there are a lot of new girls on the team and me being an upperclassman, I feel I have a role to set a good example and be someone to look up to hopefully.”
BI: Have you set any goals for this season?
EKD: “I just want to improve on my times from last year. As a team, we really want to go after the conference title. We’re working toward that goal, and I’m doing whatever I can to help my teammates in practice or in races.”