Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg), a senior on the EMU track and field team, didn’t waste any time in her final indoor season. She won her very first race: the mile at the Bast-Cregger Invitational last Saturday.
The result was also enough to put her No. 17 in the nation with a converted time of 5:27.71. She also ran the 3K, earning 8th at the meet and No. 50 in the nation with her converted time of 11:16.40.
“Laurie has been one of the best team leaders that I have seen in my many years of coaching,” said Head Coach Bob Hepler. “She is a strong athlete and wonderful person. As a coach you always want to see the athletes who work the hardest and smartest succeed as an example to the impressionable nymph athletes. Laurie deserves this success.”
Laurie is coming off of a successful senior cross country season, in which she finished 13th at the ODAC meet, earning All-ODAC Second Team honors.
However, she was excited to close that chapter of her life and look towards track.
“I was so done with cross country and just so excited to be on a track,” she said, reflecting on her mile race. “Going a shorter distance and doing something that is a little bit more of the strength that God gave me to be able to race and really just be like ah, this is it. It felt really good.”
She put in a hard summer of training to get to this point, running with teammate Derrick Chirinos (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg).
She mused about where she found the motivation.
“I think I was just kind of at this point where there’s no particular coach I’m trying to impress because we’ve had so many changes. I’ve proven to myself my physical limits that I’ve wanted to hit so that wasn’t it. I love this team and especially, especially the three junior girls who are on it, so just saying, you know we’ve worked together enough, let’s just keep going and finish it up, I think has been my biggest motivation.”
Laurie has had a different head coach for every season of cross country at EMU.
“When I think back to high school, I think, oh yes, my coach that was there with me through almost all of it,” she said, “the same kinds of meets and the same breakdown, but re-doing it. And going through EMU I don’t have that depth in this sport quite like I did in high school. I think I’m a little bit less connected but I’ve learned a lot through it.”
However, she is very appreciative of the coaching staff that came together for her senior year.
“I’ve loved the staff. I’m telling you, between Joanna (Friesen) and Cam (Erick Camodeca) and Bob (Hepler), all three of them, they are just the perfect trio working together. They touch all bases of what the guys need, the girls need, the faster people, the slower people, the people who really, really, really want to do well and the people who are just having fun - they touch everything that this team needs, so I love them. This season has been awesome with them.”
Laurie knows how to keep herself busy. Not only is she a senior nursing student in a year-round varsity sport, she is also set to graduate with a Spanish major. And despite going on a semester-long cross cultural, she is on-track to graduate right on time.
As for after graduation...
“I’m travelling,” Laurie said. “I’m going international, I want to see all parts of the US, lots of Central and South America, maybe some of Europe. And I want to do big picture community kind of nursing, not hospital. Making a big impact and not just making a big impact in one person’s life but on a large scale.”
Until then, she has one goal for this track season.
“Quite honestly, just to have fun. Honestly, that is all I’ve got left. Just have fun.”
-- by Elizabeth Nisly, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern