Oshkosh North junior cross country runner Michaela Welsh opened up her season on the right foot, finishing in 25th place out of nearly 400 runners at Jamie Block Invite on Saturday in leading the Spartans to a 7th place finish out of 18 teams at the invite. Welsh leads a talented group of junior runners looking to spring to the top of the Fox Valley Association this season.
The Northwestern talked with Welsh after a North practice to talk about the season thus far and her goals for the season.
Oshkosh Northwestern: How did it feel to be back out running in your first race this season and finishing in such a high place?
Michaela Welsh: It felt pretty good. After taking off all of the spring season to get healthy, it felt good to run in a race again. I was really happy to cross the finish line. I wasn’t the fastest I can be, but I know that it’s the first meet and there is a lot of the season left and with the hard practice, it’s going to pay off for the rest of the season.
ON: How did it feel to come in with a strong team finish at the Jamie Block Invite on Saturday?
MW: We were really happy. We are going to be really good. We all push each other to get better. We only ran with seven this weekend and everyone ran a great race to finish seventh out of 18 teams.
ON: How nice is it being able to run with classmates Ashley Schoen and Brooklyn Schamens, who are also very talented runners, again this season?
MW: I’m really happy I get to run with them again. We all push each other. Sometimes, they go out crazy fast and have really good practices, they push me so much. It’s been great to be running with them and we all want each of us to get better and we are all right there running close to the same times. Most of the time we run together (in meets and practices).
ON: You transferred from Lourdes to North after your freshman season, a year in which you were on the first of the Knights’ state championship teams. How was that transition?
MW: It was pretty different. I was sad because I had such great friends at Lourdes on the same team and we all ran everyday together. Transferring to North I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. But all the firls were really nice and running with them, they’ve been super-welcoming. I’m happy where I am.
ON: Obviously you had a solid season last year, in which you were second-team All-FVA. What are your individual goals this season?
MW: My individual goal is that I want to get first-team all-conference and I want to be able to make it to state. It’s my goal that each race I have a faster time and I’m shooting to be in the low 15s and high 14s. I know I have a lot of work on that and by the end of the season I think I can get there. I really want to run at state this year.
ON: What do you think your team can do this season?
MW: I think this year, we are going to do pretty well. We really want to be at the top of the conference and to have our full team go to state. We also want to improve every meet as a team and to start placing high at those meets.