Article Written By Sarah Joseph
Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College, pictured: Kerri Dalton
“Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me. I’m a ‘Noke woman!”
These were the words that senior Kerri Dalton might as well have been taunting at fellow competitors as she ran in the 2016 NCAA Southeast Cross Country Regional, Saturday Nov. 12. Kerri Dalton qualified for the 2016 NCAA National Championship Meet in Louisville, Kentucky, with a 22:41 6K time and sixth place finish in the region. Along with Dalton, the Women’s team placed seventh out of 27 and the Men’s team placed 13th.
Senior Claire Brooks, placed 18th with a time 23:17 in the 6K race, following Dalton onto the All-Region team. Another senior, Caity Ashley, finished 55th with a time of 24:30 in a field of 213 runners. Junior Ellen Bauer trailed Ashley, finishing 56th with a time of 24:31. Howard Daniels was the top men’s finisher, placing 47th in the 8K race with a time of 27:15. Junior Kevin Waterman was 59th among the 208 runners with a time of 27:27, and senior John Wiggins placed 67th for the Maroons.
As the reigning ODAC Champion, Kerri Dalton has a few tricks she uses in order to keep her mind off of thinking anxious thoughts.
Kerri adds, “Before a race, I almost always eat a large bowl of oatmeal with yogurt and a banana. The day can’t start without it. After that I’m usually so nervous I start pestering my teammates by acting really hyper. My extra enthusiasm isn’t appreciated in the mornings.”
When asked about how she felt knowing she qualified, Dalton said, “During the race I knew I was going to qualify for nationals as soon as I approached the finish line. Qualifying has been a goal of mine since I was a freshman. It is nerve racking knowing I will be running with not only the outstanding division 3 athletes who qualified for the southeast region but the many others as well. This race will be highly competitive and I’m excited to have one last chance to improve my 6k time.”
Since this is Dalton’s final year in college sports, Dalton had a few last words about her time as a collegiate athlete.
“I appreciate how hard collegiate athletes work academically and athletically. It’s not an easy task balancing school, work, athletics, and somewhat of a social life. Being a student athlete is challenging but I think life would be strange if I didn’t have one to balance the other.”