Cheadle selected as national outdoor track athlete of the week

| Senior Sports Editor

Courtesy of Jamie Germano

Junior Lucy Cheadle leads the field at the University Athletic Association Championships in the 2012 cross-country season. Cheadle was named NCAA Division III National Women’s Outdoor Track and Field athlete of the week on Tuesday. She won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the WU Invitational Saturday, setting a school and track record.

As a result of posting the best Division III 3,000-meter steeplechase time this season, Washington University track-and-field junior Lucy Cheadle was named the National Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Cheadle won the women’s 3,000 steeplechase at the WU Invitational on Saturday with a time of 10:29.58, which was 45 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Cheadle also set the Bushyhead Track record for the 3,000 steeplechase, beating the time of 10:42.14 set in 2009. Furthermore, Cheadle trimmed more than 12 seconds from her previous record of 10:41.84, a time that ultimately led to a seventh-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships.

Cheadle’s performance at the WU Invitational already qualified her for the national outdoor meet, which she missed last season due to an injury. According to Cheadle, qualifying for nationals early allows her to devote more time to training.

“It’s a great confidence booster because I know that there are a lot of areas I can improve on, and I definitely want to be running faster at the end of the season, but it’s really nice to get the pressure off for qualifying [for nationals] this early so I can focus on training,” Cheadle said.

Even though Cheadle already qualified for nationals, she still hopes to improve her time in the steeplechase near the end of the season. Cheadle is focusing on “being ready to peak at nationals and have my best race there. My goal time is 10:15.”

Coming into the season, Cheadle had performed well in both the 5,000-meter run and the 3,000 steeplechase. As a freshman, she won the University Athletic Association outdoor title in the 5,000 to qualify for nationals, and she also qualified for nationals in the steeplechase. This year, though, she is focusing primarily on the steeplechase.

“My freshman year I did both at nationals, but this year I think we decided to just focus on the steeplechase and place as high as I can in that,” Cheadle said. “I’ll definitely run the 5,000 at conference to score points but probably not try to qualify in that, too, just because it’s a lot to juggle both with training, recovery and making sure that we’re not too greedy trying to do too many things.”

Cheadle will compete in a few meets for the women’s track-and-field team before the UAA Outdoor Championships in April and the NCAA Outdoor Championships in May.

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