The Whitworth women’s cross country team, led by one of its top performers, junior Elisabeth Spencer, are poised for a run at the Northwest Conference championship. Although projected to finish fourth, Spencer, with her uncanny positivity and loving attitude, may have something to say about the projected finish. “She is extremely positive,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. “She brings that along with her competitiveness to her teammates.”
Spencer attended high school in Tacoma, Wash., starting cross country her sophomore year. She knew she wanted a small and friendly community for college, which is why she loved Whitworth.
“You’re going to see a lot of your friends everyday,” Spencer said. “I love being able to see people I know all the time.”
As for cross country, Spencer has a passion for running. Not only does she enjoy running in races, but also running outside of the sport. It’s the best way to experience new places, she said. Add a little bit of competition into the mix, and the result: cross country.
The competitive aspect, however, came later for Spencer. Schwarz said she did not have the same aggressive attitude that she has this year during her freshman year. She still brought her loving attitude and excitement to practice and races, but did not own the same drive to win that she has today.
“The one thing I notice the most is her excitement and positivity, no matter the circumstances,” sophomore and teammate Christina Anderson said. “She is also growing into a great competitor.”
According to Anderson, Spencer is important to the team not only because of points, but also because of her attitude. She is constantly bringing other people up and showing the enthusiasm that many of her teammates may lack at times. And now, complementing her positive attitude is a new sense of competitiveness.
“This year she has been competitive at practice, she has been competitive at meets, attitude wise, and because of that she has been running up to her ability,” Schwarz said.
Schwarz and Anderson both had many positive things to say about Spencer. They mostly revolved around her compassion and caring mentality, but also her new sense of competitiveness.
“I came into this year with a lot more confidence,” Spencer said. “And that allowed me to do better, which allowed competing to be more fun.”
What will Spencer get out of her experience at Whitworth? Not only does Schwarz help the team with running, but also in becoming more well-rounded people. The topic could be anything from spiritual to academic, and Spencer still finds Schwarz a helpful mentor, allowing her to not only take away a great running experience from collegiate cross country, but also many lessons in different aspects of life.
Korey HopeStaff Writer
Contact Korey Hope at firstname.lastname@example.org.