Meyers Works To Regain Spot Among Nation’s Elite
By Mason Kelley
When Maddie Meyers finished high school races she felt “on top of the world.” One of the nation’s top distance runners, there was a time when her upward trajectory seemed limitless.
From state championships to national events, the standout in cross country and track was a fixture on the medal stand.
Over time she realized being able to match and surpass the efforts of her peers was “one of the coolest things to do.”
But, like anything in life, there are impediments along the way. When Meyers arrived at Washington as a freshman in 2012, it took time to adjust. After attending The Northwest School, a small private school on Capitol Hill, she found herself enrolled at a Division I university.
She won 15 state titles in high school. She never lost a race at the state meet. She won the Jim Ryun Dream Mile in 2010 with the fastest time in the nation that year (4:41.93).
All of a sudden, she was going through daily workouts with a team full of athletes capable of keeping up with the freshman.
“It was definitely a shock to come to a D-I school where every girl on the team is at a national level, so at times it was a little frustrating,” Meyers said. “It was hard.”
But, while her trajectory changed, Meyers embraced the challenge.
“Once you get through that first season, that first year, then it all gets easier,” she said. “You get more used to the training. You learn new ways to race with each meet.
“It gets better slowly but surely.”
Meyers took the lessons learned as a freshman and was off to a strong start last year. Then she suffered a stress fracture in her femur three weeks before the cross country NCAA Championships. With no time to train before the event, she finished 138th overall.
“It didn’t go as well as I wanted, but it was fun,” she said.
Meyers took the indoor and outdoor track seasons off. She wanted a “steady block of training” before returning to competition. When Meyers first arrived on campus, she felt like she had to “pound every run.” Over time she realized she needed to rethink her approach to training.
“After getting hurt, I realized it’s the easy days that matter most,” she said. “You can’t get too wrapped up in what the other girls are doing, because everyone’s bodies are different.”
She realized easy, slow days are as important as intense training sessions.
Now a junior in cross country and a sophomore in track, Meyers has turned her trajectory back in the direction she grew accustomed to in high school.
She won the Sundodger Invitational – her first collegiate win – with the sixth-fastest time in the meet’s history. She followed that performance with a third-place finish at the inaugural Washington Invitational and helped the Huskies finish 13th overall at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational.
With the Pac-12 Championships set for Friday in Oakland, Calif., Meyers’ current goal is to finish the year as an All-American.
“It would be super exciting and a great way to end the season,” she said.
Once the cross country season ends, she will turn her attention to the track, although she’s still not sure which event will become her signature race.
“I haven’t even really figured out what track event I’m going to focus on,” said Meyers, who is considering the 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and 3,000-meter steeplechase. “Maybe once I figure that out I’ll be able to choose which one is my strength.”
This is an exciting time for Meyers. She is healthy, confident and comfortable. Now her goal is to retake her place among the nation’s elite. She reached the summit in high school. She is climbing again.
“Ultimately, getting to that point again would be amazing,” she said. “Hopefully that can happen the next few years.”