Cross Country has been making waves all season with womens captain Nichole Wischoff at the helm. Wischoff has already proven herself as a leader in her third year at New Paltz. She was named SUNYAC runner of the week for the week ending on Sept. 11.
“Nichole’s motivation comes mostly from within,” said Cross Country Head Coach Mike Trunkes. “She has an incredibly strong internal drive that pushes her to strive to be the best.”
On Oct. 1, Wischoff destroyed the school record for the 6k at the Brooks Paul Short Run at Lehigh University with a time of 23:07 to finish 39 of 386 runners.
“For me, its great, but its like, ok, I cant settle here. The feedback is awesome but I cant have the attitude like I’m never going to be beat.”
Wischoff has lofty ambitions for future success and a great support system behind her. While her mom is incredibly supportive and her coach motivates her, he also reminds her about the work ahead.
“Although Nichole is an infant in the sport she has quickly progressed beyond her years as a competitive distance runner,” said Trunkes. “She has the maturity level and focus of a runner that has been training and racing for ten or more years.”
Wischoff, one of seven siblings from a conservative home in Arkansas, is the second to graduate high school and the first to attend college and owes much of her success to her move to New York. She was fortunate enough to receive a rotary scholarship to study in Belgium between her junior and senior years of high school.
Her host Mother in Belgium, a very busy, successful woman, was a runner—one with little free time. Wischoff took up running to get closer to her host Mom, running three times per week at 11 minutes per mile—far from a record. She continued to run long distances with her host Mother and her running group, and returned home able to run a breezy 12 miles at a time.
“It totally changed my outlook on life,”she said.
Her European experience helped shape the rest of her life and whip her into academic shape. Though she struggled with poor grades, her hard work and diligence shone through and she was accepted to New Paltz to run with Cross Country. Now there is no turning back.
“People always ask me why I run and the last three years I couldn’t tell you, but now, the way that I feel, it’s weird,”said Wischoff.“You put a pair of shoes on and you’re running and you just feel like you can’t stop. Everything in you just clicks.”
She is running between 68 and 70 miles per week, twice a day for eight weeks to achieve her goals. Though she has struggled in the past with over-training, Wischoff says she feels great, even with eight weeks left to go.
“Now I go into it thinking no one’s stronger than me. You have to be kind of cocky,” she said.
Wischoff is aiming for nationals but is taking it one day at a time. Her coach thinks her true talent lies in longer runs like the marathon and believes she has the ability to qualify at Olympic Trials.
“I want it, I want it now, and I’m going to get it,”said Wischoff.“It’s funny because when I get runner of the week I’m so happy but I have to remember to be humble and be patient because I have such a long road ahead of me.”
Wischoff seems intent on achieving her goals and everyone around her believes in her and encourages her ambitions.
“She has all the tools to be a great distance runner,” said Trunkes. “Now Nichole just has to be patient and give it time to