“The summer before my senior year [at Hope College], I found out that I had a torn labrum in my right hip. It wasn’t going to be getting any better. It was going to be worse the more and more I ran on it. I had thought that my senior year was in the books. I had a great junior year and was coming off an All-American season. At that point I was like, Well, at least I was able to have that [All-American season] in my career. So I had a hip surgery that fall, but I never really threw my season out of the way. So I kept working and tried to rehab, and all of a sudden, the season comes up and I’m doing well. I would definitely say the hip surgery was the darkest spot in my season, but I was able to overcome it. … After finishing fourth at nationals [in the 800] my junior year, I had it in my mind that I’m going to win the national title next year, I want to be first. But then, when I found out about my hip surgery, it changed my perception on that, and that goal had to change. So my goal ended up being, OK, let’s see if I can run this season. Then it turned into, OK, let’s see if I can make it to nationals. OK, maybe let’s see if I can make the top eight [in the 800] again. My intentions and goals had to change a little bit. [Finishing fourth again] was a relief. It was definitely a relief, because I was like, Oh man, this has been a rough season, but I made it, and it was a great experience. It was a relieving feeling, but an accomplished feeling as well.”
“One of my biggest setbacks in high school would be having a stress fracture from my last season of track. This was going into senior season, big goals ahead. I had already committed to Michigan, but I still had times I wanted to get. … I had a really good indoor season, then two meets into the outdoor season, my shins just completely gave out on me. So I got an MRI, found out I had two stress fractures. So that kinda put a damper on training right away. I got to the Golden Triangle Meet at Saline, kinda like a state meet preview, and I got to run the 8 [800 meters] there—it was the last thing I did before taking a month-and-a-half off. So I spent a month-and-a-half in the pool. I’d get up in the morning and swim with the swim team. Then after school, either elliptical or bike and then get back in the pool. I did that all the way up to the regional meet, so I got to regionals, and I hadn’t been on a track up until like the day before, and that was just a couple of strides. So I got through that, qualified with a time, made it to the state meet. My coach from there had me doing workouts every once in a while. With 200 meters left in the state meet race though, I felt something shift in my shin, and it just gave out on me. So I went from being third with like 250 to go, to dead last. I got a pity clap coming in the homestretch—probably one of the worst moments ever. … So that was my transition into collegiate running.
“I got back for cross-country [at Michigan], and then same thing: double stress fractures again right before indoor started, except it was both legs this time. I kinda rushed back into training because I was really eager about starting college running. I felt like I had a little bit of ground to make up. … It was one of those things where you got to know the pool, the bike and the Ann Arbor swim club that comes in between 11 and 1. I knew their times, they knew me. We were on a first-name basis in the diving well. So that was one of those things where you didn’t really get to see the team very much freshman year, which was difficult. … But with maybe two months left in outdoor, I started training again, so I got to do my base mileage, and the upperclassmen girls were really good about bringing me back. I got to race one meet at the end of the season. It was just an 800, and I literally had not touched a track since doing a race [simulation] 600 indoor back in December. So [Coach] McGuire came up to me before, and in terms of life advice, McGuire is a pretty quiet guy, very few words. And the only thing he said to me was, ‘If you go out and try to lead this in a 60 or 61, I will run out onto the lane and tackle you’ and walked away. So I pretty much went out, sat back the first lap and then picked up the second lap again. Took his advice, and it went really well. I think I got second in the heat and broke my high school PR. So I went 2:14-low, and I was really happy with it for a first race back.”