Originally published October 29, 2010
Senior Mary Goldkamp has been separating herself from the competition on the cross country course during her years at Bradley.
With three years on the Hilltop running anywhere from Newman Golf Course in Peoria to the open fields of Wichita, Kansas, Goldkamp still hasn’t tired.
“I feel a lot fresher this year,” Goldkamp said. “My legs kept going into almost every race. “
That thought may be a cause for concern for her opponents in the upcoming MVC meet. She’s already been named to the MVC All-Conference Team and as a MVC Athlete of the Week, but Goldkamp doesn’t let her accomplishments affect her on the course.
“It’s great, and it’s a really big honor, but I just kind of put it to the side,” Goldkamp said. “Just because I’ve gotten awards and had many accomplishments doesn’t mean I’m done yet. I keep that fire and don’t let those things slow me down. I can’t think that I’m privileged to anything. So I have to earn them with what I’m doing.”
While Goldkamp was home at Florissant, Mo., over the summer, big changes had occurred on campus for the cross country team.
Gone was her coach for three years, and in his place was a rival coach from Wichita State.
New coach Marc Burns reached out to Goldkamp, and the transfer of power went on without a hitch.
“When coach Burns first got here, he called me and we talked about the team,” Goldkamp said. “We talked about where we stood about training all the way through the season – we talked about it a lot. We’ve been able to communicate with the team very well.”
Burns was able to bring out even more from Goldkamp, just in time for her last year on campus.
“He loves it, and he makes us love it,” she said. “He brings out a fire in all of us that I’ve never experienced in my four years.”
With that extra fire, Goldkamp has been running this year like there’s no tomorrow, or better yet, like there’s no next year.
“I feel a lot more experienced then I am,” Goldkamp said. “Being the captain of the team, I was able to use my experiences and give them to the new freshmen.”
This will be beneficial to new faces on the women’s team.
“We have five freshmen this year that are running at the conference meets,” Goldkamp said. “And running conference your first year is a big deal. It’s nice to be able to give some of my experiences to them and help them out, because I know I had seniors helping me when I was a freshman.”
Goldkamp’s experience at the MVC Championship is definitely something her younger teammates would want to take note of.
Last year, Goldkamp finished fifth overall. This year, with the extra experience, Goldkamp feels even more confident at this year’s MVC Championship in Wichita tomorrow.
“I’m feeling very confident, I’m feeling very strong, I’m feeling very fresh,” Goldkamp said. “I’ve been racing very well this year compared to last year. Running this week we’ve been tapering a little bit just so we can be 100 percent and our team is fired up and ready to go. You can barely keep us in our shoes right now.”
The amount of success Goldkamp will have at the conference championship has yet to be seen, but she also has her eyes on the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship on Nov. 13 at Peoria’s own Newman Golf Course.
Though the home-field advantage may not be as obvious as Lambeau Field or Fenway Park, Goldkamp said her confidence is running high.
“Running these hills and training on them, we know that like the back of my hand,” Goldkamp said. “I’ve raced this course so many times that there’s no surprises. I know what I’m getting into and that helps me mentally prepare for the race.”
Though confidence is always a good trait to have, Goldkamp is able to keep her feet squarely on the ground as she runs towards the end of her career at Bradley.
“The first mile feels great, but then I have two more to go,” she said.