As junior Keira Wood stepped up to run her first 1,500-meter race in two years, she wasn’t sure what to expect. Competing against athletes from all three divisions at Bucknell University’s Bison Outdoor Classic on April 11, she relied on endurance built up from a strong cross country season. Wood’s results were better than she expected.
“My plan for the [1,500 meter] was just to go out with the pack, kind of hang out in the middle, let them do the work and see what happens during the last lap and just go for it, and it all worked out great,” she said.
Wood surpassed her previous 1,500 time by nine seconds, achieving a new personal best of four minutes and 37.79 seconds – currently the ninth fastest time in the country. She placed third in her heat and tenth overall at the Bucknell meet.
Although the 800-meter is Wood’s main race, she has spent the first weeks of the outdoor track season training for both the 800 and 1,500 meters. She said a number of factors came together to help her performance in this particular 1,500.
“Everything just fell into place for Saturday night. The weather was perfect: perfect temperature, zero wind, under the lights,” Wood said.
The sheer ferocity of her race on Saturday April 12 left Wood fatigued for her 800-meter race the following morning, but also engaged her competitive spirit. After starting the season off with a strong finish, she said she knows she can speed up her time and hopes to make it to nationals.
According to assistant coach Mike Woods, the distance runner is “without a doubt one of the leaders on the team.” He attributes Wood’s success in the 1,500 to a strong close in the race and her hard work.
While the Bucknell meet is normally only distance and hurdles runners against top Division I schools, Woods said he sees her evolving in the both the 800 and 1,500 as the season continues.
Wood has been involved with track since seventh grade and said that she’s developed a longstanding passion for running.
“It keeps a balance in my life and definitely keeps me structured with time management,” she said. “I would not be able to do well in academics if I didn’t have athletics.”
Geneseo will host the SUNY G Open on Saturday April 18 and Sunday April 19, while qualifying team members prepare to attend the Penn Relays on April 24 in Philadelphia.