COLUMBIA — Kaitlyn Fischer did not expect to be running cross-country for a college team, never mind doing so at a national championship meet.
Fischer remains the only Missouri runner still competing and will take her talents to the NCAA championships Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind.
Fischer has already made a name for herself in her debut season, earning Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors alongside fellow Missouri runner T.J. Carey. Even more impressively, she crossed the finish line first for the women's team in five of her six races this season. Fischer also picked up All-SEC honors for both the first team and the freshman team.
But getting to this competition was never something Fischer expected.
In eighth grade, Fischer ran sprints and only tried distance running because her friends were doing it. Her coach at that time persuaded her to continue, which she did through high school. Now, she's one of Missouri's most impressive runners.
With a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet Saturday, she qualified for the biggest race of the season: the NCAA championships. To qualify, Fischer had to finish in the top 25 at the Midwest Regional.
For Fischer, the switch to distance running is an experience "she would never take back."
Fischer might be the only Missouri runner still competing, but her teammates are continuing to support her. Some will travel to Terra Haute for the race, and junior Liz Reida offered to train with her for the week.
In preparation for the meet, Fischer is continuing to practice twice a day, both in the morning and the afternoon. After the competition Saturday, Fischer will take a short break before beginning to train for the indoor track season.
Supervising editor is Sasu Siegelbaum.