Schoen Ready For Her Final Run
Years of mileage have led to one final cross country race for Misericordia’s Clare Schoen.
Schoen, a Scranton Prep graduate, is representing the Cougars for the second season in a row at today’s NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. It’s the finale to a senior season that’s included individual and team success, including a school record and conference title.
Her 6K race will start at 12:15 p.m. EST at Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne, Wisconsin.
“I was never really a track runner in high school. Cross country was always something that was really important to me, something my family all got into,” Schoen said in a recent phone interview. “It’ll be sad to leave. But I feel like I’ve gotten everything out of it that I could.”
She isn’t wrong. Schoen set the stage for a big 2018 when, as a junior, she took 86th of 279 runners at 2017’s NCAA championship meet in St. Louis.
Her time in that meet, 22 minutes, 8 seconds, ranked sixth in Misericordia’s history.
A little before then, Schoen said she realized she could actually advance to nationals — and top the Cougars’ record books, too. In an October 2017 meet at Rowan, Schoen ran the fastest women’s time for a Cougars junior, but fell short of their overall 6K record by less than two seconds.
Then came a second-place finish at the Middle Atlantic Conference Championships and a ninth-place showing at the Mideast Regional, which propelled her to her nationals appearance.
“Since the beginning of junior year, that’s when (the school record) got on my mind,” Schoen said. “I knew I needed to get it this year.”
Schoen and the Cougars kept up the pace this season, and she got the record in her return trip to Rowan’s invitational on Oct. 13. Her 21:15 smashed Pittston Area graduate Bianca Bolton’s previous program-best, 21:47.69, set in 2015 at Rowan.
In the process, Schoen claimed half of Misericordia’s top-10 6K times.
More success followed last month when Schoen won the MAC title in 23:03 and the Cougars captured their fourth team title in five seasons. At the ensuing Mideast Regional meet, the Cougars had their best-ever team finish, fifth, and Schoen placed fourth to move on to nationals.
Schoen attributed her big year to the training coach Chris Wadas has put the entire team through.
“A lot of our program is developing over four years,” she said. “I feel like it was just a culmination of miles throughout four years that are paying off.”
It could pay off one more time in today’s national meet.
Though the course is new to her, Schoen has heard about it from Wadas and former runners and anticipated it to be flatter and faster on the golf course compared to recent meets.
“I feel a lot more confident than I did last year, no longer being new,” Schoen said.
Track & field season follows, but next spring might not be the end of her athletics career. Schoen will study a fifth year in 2019-20 as an occupational therapy major and said she’ll still have a year of eligibility remaining in track and field that season.
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