Tynae Wilson, junior cross country runner, recently led the Pioneers to a dual-meet win over Division I opponents Akron, Kent State and Youngstown State on Thursday Sept. 9.
Wilson finished second overall among the 46 other runners in the race. She accomplished a cross- country personal best time of 18:27 in the 5k. She earned the Wendy’s athlete of the week for Sept. 13-20.
“It felt really good,” said Wilson about her performance in the University of Akron Tommy Evans Invitational. “It was a different feeling than what I have had for the past couple seasons for sure since I have been struggling with injuries in the past.”
Jack Hazen, women’s cross country head coach, said he was not surprised at all with what Wilson did at the Tommy Evans Invitational. He said that over the last couple of years at Malone Wilson has learned patience and matured a lot in running.
“In the past she has worked too hard, tried to run workouts too fast and tried to overachieve in workouts,” said Hazen. “I think that she has learned that doesn’t work. You have to run at the level your at and then make progressions. She understands the adaption principle. You stress the body, then you let it recover and that is when it adapts.”
Wilson’s journey through running is a unique story that started from a very young age. Her initial interest in running came from her father. He asked her to join him when she was just a kid. At first she was not very responsive to running.
“My dad would take me out to run and I would be like ‘Dad I hate this! This is awful,’” said Wilson.
However, when Wilson was only eight years old she entered her first competitive race by participating in a triathlon. As part of the triathlon she ran in a 5k and did well for her age.
“Then I did the triathlon and I got like first place in my age group,” said Wilson. “I beat all these little boys, they were all so mad, and I was like ‘Oh, I think I kind-of like this whole running thing.’”
After running so well Wilson and her parents realized she had potential. She started to run more road races and when she was about 10 or 12 years old she met Amy Yoder Begley. Begley was an Olympian in the 10k and a Nike Oregon Project Athlete.
“Her [Begley] and her husband were at this race when I was like 10 or 12,” said Wilson. “They saw me and they thought I could be really good.”
From there Wilson said they asked her parents if they could train Tynae and her parents readily said yes.
“She is definitely my inspiration,” said Wilson. “Obviously it is pretty cool to know an Olympian who has trained you along the way.”
Outside of her running, Wilson, is a middle childhood education major with concentrations in reading, language arts and social studies. She enjoys many different hobbies. Those interests include: being with her family, doing outdoor activities such as water skiing and working with little kids.
To prepare mentally before a race Wilson has some superstitious habits. Recently, she has gotten into the habit of painting her toe nails the night before the race, making sure her hair is done the same way, listening to music like Chris Tomlin and wearing the same socks during the race.
Summer is the most important part of a cross country runner’s training. With good training a runner can set him/her up for a good fall season. Wilson understands summer is vital to training because she said her summer consisted of working and running.
During the summer months she worked a full-time job so, to get her miles in, she had to either get up at five in the morning or go run late at night to avoid the heat of the day.
Summer training can be difficult because the training can get frustrating and lonely, but Wilson was able to deal with it and enjoyed the break.
“You think it would be harder to train by yourself but I liked it,” said Wilson. “I think it was good, though, to kind-of get away and mentally be on my own for a little while.”
Wilson decided she needed to make some changes to her diet because last year she started to have stomach problems.
She said that now she concentrates on eating lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking only soy milk and staying away from sugar even though it can be hard since she loves chocolate. However, she will still eat dark chocolate from time to time.
As for the rest of her season Wilson has set high goals for herself and the team. She said she believes this women’s cross country team is good enough to win NAIA Nationals, and she wants to step up and be a great runner.
“My goal, individually, is to be an All-American this year,” said Wilson. “We had one girl, Sarah Hines who graduated last year, who was an All-American and obviously we need someone to step it up.”
Chris Sherwood sports editor and contributing writer for The Aviso.