The 2014 women’s cross country season at NDSU was stricken with a magnitude of injuries from top runners like Brecca Wahlund and Abbi Aspengren. So there was no surprise when the journey for four-straight Summit League Triple Crowns began on the wrong foot.
The Bison won the Summit League Championship meet three years in a row until they were dethroned by South Dakota last season and placed second.
“This year was tough for us because we had a lot of women on the team that weren’t even expected to count for our cross country team and they did a great job of stepping up,” Andrew Carlson, the NDSU distance coach said after last season. “A second place finish at the beginning of the season seemed far-fetched so ending up doing it was awesome.”
Erin Teschuk and Taylor Janssen emerged as stars in their sophomore campaigns and are hoping to ride the momentum into the 2015 season that begins with the Bison Open on September 3.[/text_output]
[image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3802″ alt=”Erin Teschuk North Dakota State University Bison women’s cross country Summit League champion”]
[image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3803″ alt=”Taylor Janssen North Dakota State University Bison women’s cross country athlete”]
[text_output]“I think if we all just stay healthy that will be a big thing,” Janssen said. “If everybody is training this summer and we train well coming into the season and stay focused, I think we’ll be able to take the championship this year.”
Janssen had a career-high four second-place finishes for the Bison last season and the Moorhead native attributes the success to the maturation process of a college athlete.
“I just started to take it more serious,” Janssen said. “More summer mileage, trained harder, put more into the season, just took it way more seriously … Sleeping, eating well, taking iron pills, I had to get my iron up. My iron was at a three when I first came in as a freshman, which is pretty low. You want to be at a 30, so a three is almost anemic.”
The iron will of Teschuk propelled her to individual success last season when she won the Summit League meet and finished in 116th-place at the NCAA Championships, beating more than half the field.
“You would never know from talking to her that she’s going to Worlds (Championships),” explained Janssen. “You would just think she’s just your average girl. So it’s been awesome to have her on the team and I feel like she pushes everyone else to feel like, ‘Okay, we can make it to the next level, too.’”
Taking NDSU’s team to the next level has been coach Carlson’s voluntary summer training. The women can run anywhere from 65-70 miles per week with one long run on Saturday. The voluntary mileage will increase to over 75 as the season approaches.
Teschuk, Janssen and Tarin Lachowitzer were the top three finishers for the Bison last season in the Summit League Championship meet, and with the addition of a healthy Wahlund, NDSU will be the clear favorites to return to Summit League cross country glory.[/text_output]