A Runner’s High

November 21, 2012

Lauryn Falcone ’13 competes at Sunshine State Conference Cross Country Championship.

Lauryn Falcone ’13 never planned on becoming the most decorated cross-country runner in Rollins history. In fact, when she first arrived on campus four years ago, competitive running wasn’t even on her radar. But this November, the biology major became the first Tar to compete in the NCAA Division II National Championship. While the achievement was unexpected, it was no less sweet.

“I never planned or expected to compete at this level,” said Falcone, who will head to medical school next fall. “I just joined the team to have fun and stay in shape; I never planned on being competitive.” Nevertheless, the competitive bug bit, and Falcone continued to shave the seconds from her time in 5k and 6k races. In her senior year, she ran her fastest races ever, a feat she deemed particularly poignant as the end to her collegiate running career marched closer.

“I’ve been doing cross country since sixth grade, and improving year after year has been really gratifying. Finishing my career at my best is really rewarding,” she said.

Rewarding but also a little nerve-wracking. “The NCAA National Championship was the most competitive race I had ever run in, and I was running against the top runners from across the country,” said the Connecticut native. “And being the first runner to ever participate from Rollins added to the pressure. I placed in the middle of the pack, which was what I expected. I was happy with that.”

That this had been her very last race as a college student didn’t sink in for a few days. “It took a while for me to realize that I won’t be running competitively in college anymore; it’s bittersweet,” she said. “I’m going to miss having so many other people to run with, being around people with the same passion, and having people to train with. Having a team and being recognized for my hard work will be hard to leave behind.”

But the experience has made its mark, not just athletically but academically as well.

“I think there is a big connection between what I did when I was practicing and how I performed in a classroom,” Falcone said. “Being able to stick to something and work hard carries over. It takes the same mindset whether it’s an exam or a big, important race.”

A few weeks after the big race, Falcone received the NCAA Elite 89 award, which recognizes student-athletes who have reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. Falcone was one of nine participants in the race with a 4.0 GPA but won the award by having the most credit hours.

Even with the impending busyness of medical school looming, Falcone plans to continue running. “I’ll probably start doing some half marathons in the spring,” she said. “It will be fun and it will give me something to train for.”

By Kristen Manieri

Office of Marketing & Communications
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