RC Athlete Salem Growing Through Cross Country

by Dominic Santina
Shield Staff

Q&A with Rochester College student athlete Madeline Salem

Madeline Salem is a 19-year-old sophomore from Troy, Michigan, who attended Troy Athens High School. She is majoring in education with a specialty in language arts and minoring in sports management. She competes  on the cross country and track team.

Q: How often do you practice? How do you manage your time?

A: "Practices are usually about 7:30 in the morning, so I can plan my day around practice and use the breaks to get homework done during breaks between classes and at night."

Q: What high school activities were you involved in?

A: "I ran cross country and track, and played the flute in the band."                            

Q: Do you ever get nervous before competing?

A: "Yes, I do, but not to the point that it becomes unhealthy to where I can’t run. I use it more to motivate me. If there is ever a time that I am not nervous, then that’s when we have a problem."

Q: Does your RC team have chemistry?

A: "I would say that we are a family, that everyone has their own personality and things different about them. But in the end, I feel that each and everyone of us would stand up and be there for each other."

Q: Do you have any before or after game traditions?

A: "The night before every race, I have to sleep in my uniform. It just gives me that confident feeling that I can do this and puts me in a good mindset for the race the next day. As for an after race tradition, I don’t really have one."

Q: When did you start running cross country?

A: "Well, I actually started running in 8th grade with track. After realizing that I liked it so much, I decided to try cross country my freshman year and have stuck with both ever since."

Q: What is some adversity that you have had to overcome?

A: "I would say that adjusting to the distances you have to run in cross country. Unlike in basketball or other sports where you are taught different technique and skill, cross country is different. They just expect you to go out and run a lot of miles and not how to do it. It’s a God-given talent to be able to run so far."

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of cross country?

A: "I have always thought of running as a more mental sport than a physical sport. Especially with times and races and wanting to be at certain paces, it can take a toll on you mentally.  Running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, but I can feel myself getting worn down sometimes when we start to increase the mileage and feel my body become worn down."

Q: What is an embarrassing moment of your cross country career?

A: "One thing that I find embarrassing but funny at the same time, is that my high school coach would carry around a stick and would beat the ground or a stick to get our attention during races so he could get our attention and talk to us during the race."

Q: Do you learn anything from winning and losing?

A: "For us in cross country, winning is more qualifying. It teaches you that you have to give it all you’ve got every race. You have to pass it on to, because if everyone one gives it all they have, then you can pick up more points and have a better chance to qualify for nationals. Then again sometimes you just have to accept the fact that people are going to be better and faster than you, and you’re going to have to accept that."