Blaesing runs at National Championship meet


Gwen Reoch and Riley Hodin

Maria Blaesing ’24 spent the first weekend of spring break in hot and sunny Winston-Salem, North Carolina. But she wasn’t there on vacation — she had a job to do. Blaesing was in town to represent Macalester at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships. 

At the end of the indoor season, Maria Blaesing was one of just 20 athletes across the country to qualify for the Women 1 Mile Run at the meet, but she wasn’t always sure she had what it took.

“Nationals is always the goal … but I didn’t think I would make it,” Blaesing said. “Up until the last day, it wasn’t 100%. I knew [the qualifier list] would come out at 6 p.m. … I was waiting for the text from my coach. It was really tense”

The list of accepted entries was released a few minutes early, at 5:40, which she said “threw me for a loop.” Nonetheless, the moment was sweet.

“I was sitting with my friends,” Blaesing said. “I was like ‘guys, I got in!’ I was so emotional. I had to call my mom.”

After a disappointing end to the cross country season, in which she reached the NCAA North Regional Meet but fell short of nationals, Blaesing steadily improved her personal record throughout the indoor season, ultimately running a personal-best time at the indoor conference championship meet in March. Her time of 5:03.46, the second-fastest indoor mile time in Macalester history, qualified her for nationals. 

Blaesing credits Director of Track & Field/Cross Country and Head Distance Coach Dan Schofer for her success.

“He really believes in me,” Blaesing said. “He thinks I can make it really far.” 

Since Schofer’s arrival in 2019, the Track & Field team has seen program-wide improvements. Both the women’s and men’s teams finished eighth overall at the MIAC indoor conference championships in March, the men’s team’s highest finish since 2006. 

Blaesing was a key contributor, bringing home points for the Scots in three events. She placed third in the 1000m, third in the mile, and eighth in the 4x400m relay, alongside teammates Journey Amundson ’23, Adisa Preston ’25 and Hannah Grosse ’22. 

Blaesing’s inspiration comes from an unlikely source. The former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been her idol throughout her track career. Lynch is known for his nickname “Beastmode” and his off-field antics, including his famous refusal to speak at the Super Bowl XLIX media day.

“If it wasn’t for [Lynch] I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. “He lives his life, he does what he wants to. He has his goals and he goes out there and gets them. He doesn’t care what other people think. When I’m faced with a hard problem, when I get angry, and I’m like ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ I’m like, ‘What would Marshawn do?”

Blaesing has stickers of Lynch on her water bottle, a poster of him above her bed and carries an action figure in her track bag to all of her meets. Before all of her races, her mom yells out “Go Beastmode!” She also said her dream was to be not only a professional runner, but to be sponsored by Marshawn Lynch. 

As Blaesing transitions into the thick of the outdoor season, she’s got her eyes on a repeat appearance in the championships. Last week, at St. Thomas’ Tomcat Twilight meet, Blaesing ran an impressive 4:53 in the 1500 meter race, placing fifth at a large meet against athletes from Division I and Division II schools. 

But only 20 athletes make the cut for nationals. At last year’s outdoor championships, the final 1500m qualifier had a seed time of 4:37.18, so Blaesing may still need to improve her time in order to qualify. 

On April 23, the Scots head to Concordia University of St. Paul for the Holst Invitational. The Scots stay home on April 30th for their annual Rider/Bolstorff Invitational, which is open to the public and is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

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