Senior Rachel Clinton brought more than just four years of experience in women’s track competition to the Princeton Relays last weekend. She also brought a collection of awards, records, and first place finishes.
And at that meet she added another achievement, this time rewriting the record book with a meet-record 8.74 time in 60-meter hurdles. Her performance was further justification for her second Atlantic Ten Conference Performer of the Week award of the season, which she received the week before.
“I think that it’s nice to be recognized when you have a good meet,” Clinton said. “I’m excited about it.”
Midway through her final indoor season, Clinton has already earned multiple honors in what may end as her most decorated season ever. Her times are lower than they have ever been at this point in the season, she said.
“I’m glad that I’m running these times, but by this time last year, I was nowhere close to these times,” Clinton said. “I’m excited that my times have come down so quickly.”
While racing at the Great Dane Classic in New York City, Clinton posted this season’s best A-10 time in the 55-meter hurdles, running the race in 8.09 seconds.
That time qualified her for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships, which collects the best runners from the Northeast. They collect in Boston in the first weekend in March every year to compete for ECAC titles, and Clinton’s performance bodes well for success there; her time in the Great Dane Classic was better than the time she ran at the ECAC Championships last season.
But Clinton will not let that go to her head.
“I am happy with my progress, but I have a lot more work to do,” she said.
Clinton prefers to keep her goals to herself, but she said she sets new ones every week. She said she realizes that aside from seeding at the championships, the times she has recorded will not count for anything at the ECACs.
“Seeded times don’t matter. It’s all about the conference race itself,” Clinton said.
Clinton is setting these record times while continually adapting to new roles. For her first three years as an Owl, she ran hurdles only. This year, she has added the 55-meter dash and the 200-meter dash to her list of events, and while those additions have not affected her practice routine, they have changed her routine before meets.
“It’s been a change preparing to run more than one event,” Clinton said. She said she feels less pressure in the new events because she can simply sprint without having to worry about hurdles.
Clinton will carry this heavy workload to the Penn State National Invitational this weekend. She is slated to run the 60-meter hurdles, 60-meter dash, and the 200-meter dash. She said the high level of competition will drive her to push herself right up until the day of the competition. With another strong showing she could add yet another honor to an already award-filled season.
John Kopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.