Anchoring a surprise team

q&a: elizabeth tauber, john carroll, cross country

November 23, 2008|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to the Baltimore Sun

Elizabeth Tauber of John Carroll first made an impact in cross country by taking third in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title race last fall as a freshman. She came back to easily win this year's race, and then went on to take first in the Maryland-D.C. private schools meet.

The sophomore will be running distance again during the indoor season. Tauber needed to have a good fall because the Patriots lost several key runners from last year, most notably IAAM A Conference champion Erika Stasakova and Nicole Clarke, the team's No. 2 runner. But Tauber ensured they didn't miss a beat.

Tauber anchored a John Carroll team that surprised many with its second-place finish at the IAAM meet. She won every dual meet this year and took third in an invitational at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

How much pressure did you feel this year since John Carroll lost Stasakova and Clarke?

It was a lot of pressure because they did really amazing things last year. Yes, there was pressure, but I just did everything that my coaches told me to do and worked hard.

Did you ever expect a season like this?

Not as good as this. This season was just perfect.

At what point did you realize that this could really be a special year?

The coaches were kind of expecting me to take Erica and Nicole's place, but at the race at McDonogh, where I had competition from Jo Baird and Madeline Dulac, and I won, that's when I kind of realized that I could do really well this year.

As a team, do you think you surprised some people by finishing second at the IAAM championships?

Everyone thought that with Erika and Nicole gone, that we wouldn't be as good as last year. We did all that we could, and we trained hard and we worked hard, and it paid off.

What kind of work did you do during the summer to prepare for this season?

In the summer, I ran a lot of races with Erika and Nicole. We did a lot of road races, and we ran them as a team. I think that helped. We had summer practices every Monday and Wednesday on trails. I think that really helped [because] we had already started off in the summer, and it was a good base for us to go from when practice began in August.

How good can your team be in the next two years with so many underclassmen on the team?

We do have a lot of underclassmen. We have some pretty good chances of being good next year because Taylor Battaglia is a freshman, and she helped us a lot this year and she can help us a lot in the next three years, too.

Where can you go from here?

I'm just going to continue to do the best that I can and help out my team the best that I can. I'd like to defend both of those titles for the next two years.

Do you think you sneaked up on people a little bit this year?

I think so, because last year I was third on the team, and Erika and Nicole were the two big runners that everyone was concerned about. With them gone, I realized I had to step up. It might have surprised some people.

Who's your favorite athlete to watch?

In the Olympics this year, we were watching [distance runner] Shalane Flanagan. She was really an inspiration to watch, and of course, Erika [who now runs for Lafayette College], I still keep in touch with her. She really helped me a lot.

What's in your iPod right now?

We have this song that a bunch of us listen to: "Change" by Taylor Swift. [We heard] that it was written for the Olympics, and we have a quote from that song on the back of our team shirts: "They might be bigger, but we're faster and never scared."

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