Lauren Breihof was an NCAA Division II All-American in cross country as a sophomore at Western Washington in 2009.
After missing on repeat All-America status last year, the Mountain View High School graduate made that a goal for her final collegiate season.
Then came a bout with iliotibial band tendonitis — inflammation of tissue on the outside of the thigh crucial to stabilizing the knee during running — after spring track season that had her fearing for about a month and a half that her collegiate running career was already over.
When that trouble subsided and she returned to training, Breihof returned to form.
She placed ninth at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships for All-GNAC status. She placed 30th at the NCAA Division II West Region championships at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex near Spokane.
When she and the Vikings returned to the same site for nationals and she placed 60th, Breihof learned that becoming an All-American again was her goal — but not her obsession.
“I was definitely hoping to end my collegiate career as an All-American, but it just wasn’t in the cards this race,” Breihof said. “I knew going in that it would be close, but that I was capable — but I just didn’t feel as great as I’d hoped, which is always a bummer.
“However, our team met up as a group before the awards banquet and as I reflected on the race. I told them the same thing I will tell you. I thought I would be really upset if I didn’t get All-American at my last national meet — but when it comes down to it, the last four years all wrapped up today and getting that title suddenly seemed so unimportant compared to my entire experience at Western. I didn’t feel great, but I left nothing in the tank for that day, so I can’t really have any regrets.”
Breihof ran the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course in 23 minutes, 14.1 seconds on a snowy, 29-degree day.
While the conditions were hardly idea, they were not unique for a runner competing at nationals for the fourth time. Breihof said that three of her four nationals races were held in snowfall, as was last year’s regional competition.
Nationals in her redshirt freshman season of 2008 in Slippery Rock, Pa., was the most cold and snow in which she has ever competed, Breihof said, but last weekend was second on that list.
“It is always weird to race in tights and an ear warmer and gloves, but knowing that everyone else is freezing too helps,” she said. “I had a rough time with the cold at regionals this year and my muscles froze up so I wore tights this race, which I think helped but I still struggled with getting my legs to move fast up the hills and the cold air was hard on my lungs.”
Looking back on a completed collegiate career, Breihof said she made the right choice in WWU and Bellingham.
“I came in feeling homesick, nervous to compete at a higher level, and without any of my friends and now I can say that Bellingham has become my home,” she said. “... I’m ready for a new chapter of life to start but I really wish this one didn’t have to end, which I think is the sign of a good experience.”
Breihof, who has raked in academic honors throughout her time at WWU, is set to graduate next month with a degree in marketing with a minor in sports psychology.
Also for the Vikings in the men’s race at nationals, Camas High School graduate Tanner Boyd finished 88th in the 8-kilometer (5-mile) race in 33:31.1. He was the team’s fifth scoring runner as the Vikings placed 10th.
Concordia’s Limage earns All-America
Concordia University senior Junia Limage earned All-America recognition by placing 23rd at the NAIA cross country championships Saturday at the Fort Vancouver National Site. The Fort Vancouve graduate ran the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course in 18 minutes, 15 seconds.
Other local finishers in the women’s race were Northwest University senior Paige DeLapp (Evergreen), 142nd in 19:46; Shorter University junior Rachel McDaniel (Battle Ground), 308th in 21:48; and Concordia sophomore Kristina Cupp (Vancouver Christian), 311th in 21:57.
Northwest University junior Matt Porter (Hockinson) was 98th in the men’s race in 25:44.
Herman CCC hoops Player of Week
After shooting a near perfect 20 of 23 from the floor last week, Concordia University’s Adam Herman was named the Cascade Collegiate Conference Player of the Week for men’s basketball. The Prairie High School graduate, already the NAIA’s national leader in field goal percentage at .829, won the award after scoring 21 and 29 points against George Fox and Linfield, respectively.
Herman was 9 of 9 shooting Friday against GFU, and 11 of 14 Saturday against Linfield.
NAIA CC scholars
Among those honored as NAIA Scholar-Athletes for cross country are Shane Weldon (Heritage, University of Great Falls senior); John Trimble (Hudson’s Bay, Corban University junior); and Kelsey Klettke (Prairie; Lewis-Clark State College redshirted senior.)
Student-athletes are nominated by their institution’s head coach and must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status in order qualify for the honor.
Concordia women in soccer nationals
Concordia University advanced to the second round of the NAIA women’s soccer national tournament with a 1-0 win Saturday over Westminster College of Utah. The Cavaliers (16-4-1) advance to the quarterfinals in Decatur, Ala., and will play Spring Arbor University (19-2-1) of Michigan on Tuesday.
Columbia River High School graduate Hannah Kimsey is a sophomore midfielder.
NYU’s Henning H.M. All-UAA in soccer
New York University junior defender Molly Henning garnered honorable mention in All-University Athletic Association accolades. The Columbia River High School graduate also received honorable mention as a sophomore.
Henning also shined in the classroom, garnering UAA Fall Sport All-Academic honors.
EOU’s Sorensen H.M. All-CCC volleyball
Eastern Oregon freshman outside hitter Stefani Sorensen garnered honorable mention in All-Cascade Collegiate Conference volleyball honors.
The Camas High School graduate was eighth in the conference in hitting percentage (.254) and kills per set (2.8). She had 208 kills.
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