Discover more from Blue & Gold Media at Mississippi College
Lauren Wallace Breaks School Record Helping to Secure a Spot at Nationals
With the Choctaw ‘Runner Girls’ bound for nationals, Wallace talks training and team spirit.
The Mississippi College women’s cross country team heads to nationals Nov. 18 with a record-breaking team and high expectations. One of MC’s runners, Lauren Wallace, holds one of those new records, running the 6k race in 20 minutes, 40 seconds. The junior elementary education major from Hoover, Alabama, has been running since grade school, and her favorite part of running is the people it has placed in her life.
Growing up, Wallace watched her mother running marathons, and the people that were around her as she trained, and she wanted something similar. She has found that comradery with the Mississippi College women’s cross country team.
The women’s 2023 season featured several event winners, team wins, and broken records. The Lady Choctaws placed second in the Gulf South Conference and competed at regionals where they secured themselves a spot at the NCAA Division II nationals. Wallace, however, has not been surprised by the team’s success.
Wallace said that after not earning a nationals spot last year, the team began planning how they could make that goal happen. “Literally on the way home we were figuring out how we could live together over the summer,” said Wallace. “We fully committed to running and to each other, and then it paid off. It was a really, really cool feeling knowing we could commit like that.”
The team spent the summer in Starkville, Mississippi, training together. However, the team’s commitment isn't the only thing that makes it special.
“What we base ourselves off of sets us apart,” said Wallace. “It is who Christ says we are, who Christ says who we should be and act like. Lastly, it is how we should love each other because of that.”
Coach Matthew Reneker has built a culture centered around Christ’s love, and he has shown the team how they can apply those principles to running.
“We are a bunch of people who love God, love each other, and like to work hard,” said Wallace. “I think that makes our culture so special, and it makes us able to have so much fun doing something so difficult because it's not really for us, for the times, or for the spot at nationals. It is for each other, and for the Lord who gave us the gift. I think that makes us very special.”
Wallace’s favorite moment from this season wasn’t when she broke the school record. It came in the middle of the regional meet.
“Regionals—the whole day— was so amazing,” commented Wallace. “We had so many people there watching us and cheering us on, and I remember I felt so much peace. I was smiling so big because all the people that came to watch us were chanting ‘Choctaw Runner Girls.’ I just hadn’t smiled so much in a race in so long.”
Wallace said that action was representative of the team. “It wasn’t just the people who were running at regionals who were working toward nationals, it was the entire team. It was a team effort, and we were all supporting each other, loving each other, and having so much fun doing it.”
Both the men’s and women's cross country teams will be traveling to Joplin, Missouri, to compete at the NCAA Division II nationals on Nov 18.
“The mind set is we have a spot, and we’re not going to waste that,” said Wallace. “We’re going to have the best race possible, but there’s no real pressure on our place at nationals.”
Thanks for reading Blue & Gold Media at Mississippi College! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.