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Rachel Boerner Heating Up Track For Calvin Knights

Monday, March 22, 2010

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By Sports Information Student Assistant Derek Neice

Calvin’s track and field success over the years has been one of the most consistent of all the sports offered here.  Last Saturday the Knights added another chapter to that rich history as junior Rachel Boerner won the 400 meters with a time of 55.95.  Boerner has already proven herself a veteran runner on this deep track team for the Knights, but this accomplishment certainly tops the list of her many accolades.

A native of Bergenfield New Jersey, Boerner would eventually graduate high school from the Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Minnesota.  Her brother-in-law, a Calvin alumnus, encouraged her to consider coming to Grand Rapids for her undergraduate studies, and now she has won a national title as a Calvin runner.

Her reasons for coming to Calvin aside from her brother-in-law’s influence were also because of Calvin’s location in the Midwest and its astronomy program, an area of interest for Boerner.  She is currently a physics major with a double minor in Spanish and astronomy and plans on attending graduate school after graduating from Calvin to pursue medical physics.

Her athletic resume’ is already quite full from the past few years, and so with her big win in the 400 and with the promising outdoor season to come this spring, Boerner will definitely graduate an accomplished athlete at Calvin.

Calvin is only now in its second year of running indoor track and Boerner has done quite well thus far.  Last year she ran on Calvin’s All-American 4x400 meter relay at the NCAA III Indoor Championships, helping to take 3rd place overall in that event as well as her national title on March 13. 

In outdoor track and field, Boerner is currently a two-time All-American, placing 4th overall her freshman year as a part of Calvin’s 4x400 meter relay team in 2008 and taking 2nd overall in the 400 meter hurdles in 2009 last May.  Boerner would certainly have additional awards for indoor nationals in the 400 hurdles, but that event is not run during the indoor season.

Something that should be noted as well is that in the indoor season, one lap on the track is 200 meters long as compared to the outdoor tracks that are 400 meters.  So the strategy that goes into a race like this for an indoor race is a lot different than outdoors.

So this race being essentially a two-lap race, another important aspect is that after the first lap where the runners are confined to their specific lanes, they can all converge together to the inside lane to try and jockey for positioning as the race concludes.

When Boerner recently reflected on pulling out the win in the 400 meter race at the national meet she discussed the tactics of the race, emphasizing how she was not expecting to be in the lead once the pack hit the final stretch.

“It was in the cut-in that I noticed that I was in fourth place and so I put on a burst of speed so that I could cut in to the very center before we got around the curve so I wasn’t running on the outside, and that got me into second place,” said Boerner.  “And then as we started the second lap we rounded the corner, and at the end of the corner is where I always plan to kick it in there and make a move.”

“And nowhere in my scenarios was I planning to be ahead of anyone, but that’s not how it turned out,” Boerner continued.  “And the only thing keeping me going at the end was knowing that the other runners were right behind me.”

Despite all of her accomplishments on the track for the Knights, Boerner still remains humble in giving a lot of respect and gratefulness towards the track program at Calvin and its rich history.

“The track team wasn’t a huge factor in my coming to Calvin,” said Boerner.  “But now that I’m here, the people and the program and the coaches are so amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world now.”

An exciting note for Calvin’s team Saturday also was that as soon as Boerner had won her race, fellow teammate Sarah Reasoner placed 2nd overall in the shot put, an event that took place right after the 400 meter race.

“I knew she was capable of it,” Boerner said of her teammate Reasoner.  “It was so exciting to see her up on that podium as well.”

Looking ahead, Boerner still has the outdoor season to look forward to this spring.  According to her, it’s an even better season than the indoor one, so that be the case, we all also have a lot to look forward to out of this senior and this team this season.

“One big difference is the time,” said Boerner on the differences between running indoor versus outdoor.  “It’s a lot harder to run a fast time indoors because of the sharp turns than outdoors.”

“For the outdoor season my main goal is to do well in the 400 meter hurdles,” said Boerner of her goals for the spring.  “I’d like to set a personal best as well as maybe taking a second or two off my time from last year.”

Boerner is already off to a blazing start to the outdoor season, recording an automatic qualifying time of 1:01.65 at the Rhodes Invitational on March 20. She also ran a leg on Calvin’s 4x400 meter relay team at the meet that posted a provisional qualifying time of 3:55.00. She was joined on the relay by Kaitlin Diemer, Katie Roelofs and Jordan Gabrielese.

“Team-wise we have goals for placing and how well we do at conference,” continued Boerner.  “But it’s also about growing as a team, getting to know the people, and sharing in the community as well with how we do athletically.”

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