Luther College Chips

Carney finishes career at National meet

McKenzie Carney ('18)

McKenzie Carney ('18)

Photo courtesy of Luther Athletics

Photo courtesy of Luther Athletics

McKenzie Carney ('18)

Emma Busch, Staff Writer

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Luther Women’s Cross Country co-captain McKenzie Carney (‘18) qualified for the NCAA III National Championships at Principia College on Nov. 18 after her performance at the NCAA III Regionals on Nov. 11. Carney placed 90th out of a field of 279 competitors with a final time of 22:10:10.

In an interview conducted prior to the national meet, Carney said she was looking forward to the race, as it was her first time qualifying during her four years at Luther.

“It was really exciting news,” Carney said. “I actually cried in Oneota [Market] because I was so excited. This was my first time qualifying and every year we’ve been pretty close as a team. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Individual qualifiers for the National Championships are first selected based on their performance in qualifying teams. The next group of individuals chosen are the top seven runners that did not belong to a qualifying team, as was the case with Carney.

Co-captain of the women’s team Anna Ryden (‘18) said that she was also excited Carney qualified and is able to represent the team in a positive manner.

“I was so excited to find out that [Carney] had qualified for nationals,” Ryden said. “She is such a hard worker and really has a lot of dedication to the sport. It’s a huge honor to qualify and to have someone from our team get out on a national stage and represent Luther and all of the hard work that we as a team, but also her as an individual, have put in over the past years is really amazing. I think everyone is really inspired by her.”

In preparation for nationals, which will also be the final race of her career at Luther, Carney said that she wanted to approach the meet in the same manner as she and other members of the cross country team do during their regular season.

“Typically as a team we always start out pretty patient and don’t go out too fast, Carney said. “Then we pass people throughout the race. So I guess I’ll just continue with that plan for one last race.”

In an interview conducted before the meet, Associate Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach Yarrow Pasche said that helping Carney maintain her focus and acknowledging her efforts would be instrumental to her performance at the national meet.

“She’s earned this spot and through her races and training has risen to this level where she gets to race in the national championships,” Pasche said. “It’s a different field. We’ve never been in a field that is that competitive, so keeping a perspective that she deserves to be here is important.”

According to Pasche, Carney’s achievement is a culmination of all the work that she put towards improving her running skills over the course of her time at Luther.

“With a distance runner like [Carney], you can see a performance and a season like she had this year coming from a long way off,” Pasche said. “People don’t get to this level overnight. Her senior season is a phenomenal reflection of all the running that she did over the course of her previous three years at Luther and the improvement she made incrementally.”

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