“They had normalized qualifying for nationals which I think really helped me. I think if that type of thing would have felt like a big reach, the pressure and nerves would have kicked in but because it was seen as a normal thing to qualify for nationals, I wasn’t surprised by it.”
This week the staff here at D3 Glory Days is happy to welcome Washington University, and University of Colorado Boulder alum, Lucy Cheadle. A modestly successful, yet undertrained, high school athlete Lucy joined a Wash U cross-country team poised to win a national championship after a runner up finish the previous year. By the time she left campus, she had racked up 10 All-American awards, and three individual national championships. Lucy is one of just 14 women to earn four All America awards in cross country.
Tripped and injured by her coach early in freshman season, Lucy would return in time to contribute her first all-American performance to Wash U’s national championship. All a part of Coach Stiles’ master plan that guides this conversation. We talk about the transition from blissful naïveté to the pressure that can come with success and leadership. Like many athletes Lucy navigated injuries during her career, but still showed up at the end of seasons when it mattered. We discuss the process of removing self imposed limitations, the importance of confidence, and becoming “someone who wins things.” We get into Wash U’s full hearted embrace of D3 team culture and tradition. Normalizing the expectation of qualifying for nationals. Navigating the traumatic loss of a teammate, as high performance was put on hold as the grieving process ran its course, and eventually toeing the line at nationals as an individual. The discovery of the steeplechase, and doing homework not only on the road trips to races, BUT THE MORNING BEFORE THE RACES. Later in her career she realized the less is more philosophy of reducing mileage, and increasing cross training because you can’t race if you’re not there. We wrap things up by hearing about Lucy’s 5th year, where she transferred to the legendary Colorado University Buffalo’s, and became a D1 athlete, and learning what she’s doing now with the Sunrise Movement, just in time for Earth Day.
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We’ve recently launched a side project “The Double” on YouTube, check out our first interview with the men of John Carroll U.
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