General of the Week: Annie Cunningham

Annie Cunningham, ‘21, is a member of the W&L women’s track and field team. Cunningham, from Clifton, Conn., won the 800-meter race with a time of 2:26.10 at the Finn Pincus Invitational hosted by Roanoke College on Jan. 27. She is also an outside defender on the W&L women’s soccer team. The Phi talked with Cunningham about her success at this weekend’s meet and the team’s goals for the season.

Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info

Ellen Kanzinger

Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info

Larkin Holtzman

Ring-tum Phi: First off, congratulations on placing first in the 800-meter this weekend! What events do you compete in? Which is your favorite and why?

Annie Cunningham, ‘21: Thank you! The events I typically run are the 800-meter and the 400-meter. The 800 is my favorite event because it is a mid-distance event which still requires a lot of speed, and the combination of the two makes it a really difficult race to run, which is a challenge that I enjoy. Also, the 800 is a part of the DMR, SMR, and 4x800m relays which opens up a lot of opportunities to run with others on a relay team.

Phi: What are some of the team’s goals for the rest of the season?

AC: We would love to win a Triple Crown, since the cross country team had such a great season and won the ODAC. Otherwise, we are also focusing greatly on integrating the track team as a whole—the distance, sprinter and field events teams—to build a stronger and more tightly knit team dynamic.

Phi: What are your strengths as a runner and what do you hope to improve upon?

AC: I think that one of my strengths as a runner is that I do not overanalyze the race while I am running. I think this makes me very versatile and allows me to adapt easily to the competition around me so that I can run to the best of my ability. I hope to improve upon running with more even splits throughout my race so that I can predict my race finishes better.

Phi: Can you talk a little bit about what the team does on a weekly basis to prep for meets?

AC: Coach Dager does a really good job of paying really close attention to all of the distance runners, planning workouts around specifics and making sure people are tending to any injuries that they may have. Over the course of a week, we have a balance of recovery and cross-training days with one to two hard workouts with lifts after.

Phi: Tell me a little about the coaches and what they have done, and continue to do, to motivate the team.

AC: The coaches are really great about building a support system throughout the whole team. On the way back from meets, there is a designated time on the bus where we recognize the accomplishments of individuals during the meet, such as PRs or top finishes. This time helps to motivate the team for upcoming meets, especially the ODAC championships.

Phi: As a freshman, who do you look up to on the team?

AC: I look up to Julia Moody who is a sophomore on the team. When I was a recruit I stayed with her on my overnight [visit] and we became friends instantly. As a freshman last year, Julia made a huge impact on both the cross country and track teams and I hope to do the same this year for track.

Phi: What has your experience as a two-sport athlete been like so far?

AC: So far, it’s been pretty similar to how high school was in terms of constantly being active. But, in college, the training is much more focused and intense than what I’ve experienced in the past. It has been very busy with having a very short off-season. But being in season helps me to stay focused and organized while also allowing me to always have something to look forward to, such as a meet or a game.

Phi: Outside of track and soccer, what are you looking forward to most this semester?

AC: I’m really excited to try to make it out to see my friends’ games who play spring sports since we will be here over both February and spring break. Even though we can’t leave campus, I’m excited to spend time with the people who are here.