Tempone speaks on successes

TEMP ORARY November 28, 2012 0
Tempone speaks on successes

2011 Middle Atlantic Conference Women’s Cross Country Champion. Three-time MAC Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week in 2012. Three-time NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships competitor. When discussing junior cross country and track runner Traci Tempone, the accolades keep piling up.
A key member of Elizabethtown College’s women’s cross country and track teams, Tempone has played a huge role in the team’s continued success. The women won their sixth MAC Championship this year, and Tempone contributed largely to that win, as well as to the team’s trips to the regional meet the past three years.
Early on, Tempone was a soccer player although she described herself as uncoordinated. “I tried a lot of different sports,” Tempone said, describing her journey to find the right athletic avenue. It was not until one of Tempone’s friends decided to leave the soccer team to try cross country that Tempone followed suit and started her running success.
“I didn’t really know what it was at first,” Tempone said of the sport. “It was more social at first.”
However, Tempone soon settled into this new sport. She has stuck with it over the years because she likes how the sport really pushes individuals as well as the team to achieve more and break past their limits. Plus, the coed atmosphere was a refreshing difference. “It keeps girls from being girls,” Tempone said of the benefits of practicing with men and women.
When it came time to choose a college, cross country was definitely a factor. “I didn’t want sports to be too big of a factor,” Tempone said. However, as she went through the search process, her final schools had the academic standard she wanted. Then cross country became a much bigger part of the process. The team at Etown was appealing to Tempone because they really seemed like a family. Also coach Brian Falk truly believed in Tempone and his other runners.
Those factors have stayed true so far throughout Tempone’s career. Tempone noted how the team works hard together and how that strengthens their team bond. She remarked that if the team travels for a race, that experience is always a fun bonding time.
However, Tempone does have her complaints about the sport. While team workouts are good for bonding, the running isn’t always fun. Her least favorite workout, which incidentally is Falk’s favorite workout, is when the team goes to Stony Creek to run. The team has to drive to get there and their route is much longer than other workouts. “I get bored,” Tempone said simply. Tempone prefers the “shorter” long runs, her preferred distances being 5k or 6k.
During a race, Tempone prefers to keep a steady pace. “I don’t like to start out fast,” she said. “I average about the same splits the whole time. It gives you a boost each time you work past a group. It makes you think you’re speeding up.” In high school, Tempone didn’t follow this strategy and instead started really fast at the beginning of each race.
With her steady pace, Tempone is also a successful long-distance track runner. She enjoys running track because she knows exactly when and how fast her mile splits are. “You can get in a good grove and know you’re in it,” she said.
Despite her love of cross country, Tempone does miss a few aspects of traditional sports. Unlike in other sports, during a race, Tempone doesn’t know how her teammates are performing. She misses knowing what’s going on and cheering for her teammates during a game.
Still, Tempone plans on continuing to run throughout her life. In the future, she hopes to run a marathon for a cause with her friends. She also wants to become a more well-rounded athlete and do more swimming. Tempone also hopes to return to her soccer roots and play club soccer.
As for her remaining time at Etown, Tempone has two more track seasons and one cross country season left. If her past success is any indicator of her future, her name will be one for Etown’s record books.

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