She has not even run her main event, and already third-year Liz Lawton is crushing the competition at the NCAA championships with the Maroon
Performance of the Year (see page 14). Yesterday evening, Lawton ran a scorching 34:41 in the 10000-meter run to win the national championship in the event by 42 seconds.
Last week, it did not seem like she would be competing in the 10K, but after her impressive performance in the 5K run last weekend, Lawton felt confident about her
“Working on my 5K last weekend, I knew that I had the capability to go out there and run a 10K,” Lawton said.
Obviously things have worked out thus far. After her performances over the last couple of weeks, it is clear that Lawton is reaching top form during the most crucial moment of the season.
“My coaches peaked me at just the right time,” Lawton said. “All the different types of training we were doing truly helped me tonight.”
All the hard training has paid off, as Lawton felt completely in control of her race yesterday.
“My coach told me to set a pace for myself around 35 minutes, as we figured it would be close to a winning time. I went out and set my own pace,” Lawton added. “I felt really comfortable around the 5K point in the race. The miles kind of flew by, and there was never really a freak out moment where I thought I better go quicker. I ran my own race, and I am so happy about that right now.”
This victory gains Lawton entrance to the exclusive club of female Maroon track and field national champions; a club until now occupied by one. To do this she had to run a 5:36 mile pace. To put things into perspective, she finally broke five minutes in the 1600-meter run during the winter quarter with a 4:58.
She is still looking to do something in the 5000-meter run.
Accompanying this victory, fourth-year Maroon Athlete of the Year Claire Ray placed fifth place with a 53.63m throw in the hammer throw.
“I got like a two meter pr which hasn’t happened in a while,” Ray said. “I went in ranked 14th and finished fifth which is really great. I can’t really complain about it.”
Like Lawton, Ray has her primary event to look forward to. “Well now, especially after today, I’m pretty pumped for it. I was going into the finals [of weight] fourth but I got passedby another girl.” Ray continued “And we are both doing shot tomorrow so maybe there will be some sort of payback. I just hopefully can use this momentum. I’m finally figuring some stuff out. I think tomorrow is going to go really well.”
Considering how rare it is in DIII to have runners who are ranked nationally, Chicago is in a great place. “I feel like now the girls have a really good shot at trophying,” said Ray.
Both Ray and Lawton will compete again this weekend as they look to put in a historic performance for the University of Chicago.