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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Star athletes achieve national ranks: Kimber Meyer, All-American

The Macalester running program now has a two-time All-American and a MIAC champion, and she’s only a first-year. As if achieving All-American status in cross country this fall wasn’t satisfying enough, Kimber Meyer ’17 claimed the rank once again on March 15 at the Division III National Indoor Track Championship in Lincoln, Neb.

Running a 9:46.31 in the 3000-meter race, Meyer not only placed fifth—everyone in the top eight was named an All-American—but she also bested her personal record by seven seconds. Even more astoundingly, it was the first race all year in which she didn’t place first. Meyer has been no stranger to success during her running career. At Naperville North High School in Naperville, Ill., she captained her cross country team which improved from placing 13th in conference sophomore year to being state champions her senior year.

As one might expect, Meyer’s indoor track season was full of thrilling victories. Meyer recalled running a mile in under five minutes as her finest moment prior to Nationals.

“Breaking the five minute mile at the home meet was exciting because there were just so many people cheering, and because I broke the school record,” Meyer said.

“There were people all around the track cheering for me, and they were calling out splits. Halfway through I was a little under 2:30, so I knew it was possible.”

In addition to highlighting Meyer’s success at the home meet, head coach Betsy Emerson pointed to her performance at the University of Minnesota Parent’s Day Open. “It was the first time she ran the 3K indoors and she beat some great Division I and II runners on her way to an individual title and fantastic time,” Emerson said.

Meyer passed the leader at the very last second to clinch a first place finish. “After the meet, someone showed me the national rankings and I was 10th. And I knew the top 17 qualify,” Meyer said.

Emerson and Meyer spent the season working on shorter interval training to improve Meyer’s leg speed and build her kick for the end of races. Weather conditions forced them into lower mileage workouts, which Emerson believes “was a blessing in disguise because it forced us indoors a bit more and [Meyer] did more workouts on the track that improved her overall speed.”

Although Meyer is practiced at keeping calm, she admits that her nerves built up leading to her race at Nationals, as she had to wait for the penultimate event of the meet to hit the track. In order to calm down, “I remind myself that it’s not about time or place, it’s just about doing your best and running your own race,” she said.

Once the gun was fired, Meyer appeared poised as ever. “Everyone started out really fast, but I just started the way I normally do,” she said. “I didn’t let that carry me away. I started out second to the last, and everyone was in a big pack. I was trying to get into my rhythm of 40 seconds per lap.”

Once Meyer found that rhythm, she was able to design a new strategy. “I figured out that moving from the banked curve to the straightaway was a good time to pass people,” she said.

She confesses that thoughts of being an All-American crept into her mind in the later stages of the race. “Towards the end I was counting people, but I couldn’t really tell how close everyone was so I started my kick a little early,” Meyer said. “I was able to hold off the pack behind me and continue my kick into the last lap.”

This quick decision to push herself earlier than usual paid off as she easily secured the finish she needed to be named an All-American.

Meyer notes that her most enduring memory of the race was seeing her mother immediately after she crossed the finish line and watching her shake with happiness. Similarly, Emerson indicated that Meyer was well aware of the gravity of her accomplishment. “Kimber was all business and pretty quiet and reserved the day of a race, but after her race she couldn’t stop smiling and talking to all of us about the race,” she said.

Following her achievement, Meyer will immediately return to the track and begin training for the outdoor season. She will primarily race the 5,000 meters, an event which she will run for the first time this spring. “I would like to qualify for nationals again,” Meyer said.

When asked about Meyer’s potential, Emerson noted that she coached national champions during her time at Luther College, but none of them ran times like Meyer has so early in their career. Her future may just include a couple more accolades.

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