The Brown and White spoke with women’s cross country seniors Emma Linde, Jamie Zamrin, Martina Sell and Natalie Condon to learn about their best and most challenging moments at Lehigh and discuss their post-graduation plans.
Q: What is your biggest achievement as Lehigh cross country runner?
Emma Linde: I’m proud of initially coming here and deciding I want to run, being on this team and being competitive. Just sticking with it all these years and continuing to love the sport more than I did in high school. Also, through COVID-19, seeing our team stick together and make it through that was a big deal.
Jamie Zamrin: I think being a contributing member to the team has been my biggest achievement. I have placed at Patriots both years that I ran. This year I am set up to do pretty well. I feel like always being able to have my name on the roster and be there when I need to be there is probably what I am most proud of.
Martina Sell: I think being named captain this year is my biggest achievement. I found out over the summer that I was captain and it was super exciting and makes me be proud of my last three years here because I guess I showed a level of leadership that my teammates respected.
Natalie Condon: We finished second at Patriots my freshman year, so that was a really exciting time for us. It made me realize how exciting it was to be on a Division 1 college team.
Q: What challenges have you faced as a Mountain Hawk? How did you overcome them?
EL: I’ve had a pretty serious ongoing injury for the past year that’s kept me from running on-and-off, so I think the biggest challenge is just continuing to believe and have faith that all my hard work and efforts to get healthy are going to pay off, and races will be there when my body is ready. The love of the sport is what carries me through. How I get through, and how we all do, is by leaning on each other and looking inward and remembering why we run. Some people probably think we’re crazy, but I need running to be happy. The sport has become way more than just something I do everyday. It’s a part of who I am because it makes me feel good about myself. It’s very inspiring working towards something greater than ourselves as well.
JZ: Balancing school and athletics has always been a challenge. A lot of times, day-to-day, it can feel like I’m only focusing on one and not so much on the other. A lot of people at Lehigh are involved in a ton of things and I am involved in a lot outside of athletics and school. Learning how to balance life has been very difficult but rewarding because it has shown me what’s important and what I value enough to spend my time doing.
MS: My junior spring I had mono and the comeback from that has been really rough. I am still not able to compete due to a couple of health complications and lasting effects, so that’s definitely been my greatest challenge here. Overcoming that has involved finding my purpose as a teammate without the performance aspect and how I can still be a vital member to our team.
NC: During cross country I’ve always dealt with a lot of injuries. It’s been tough to stay away from workouts and watch my teammates do them. It’s hard to feel like you’re contributing to the team when you’re on the sidelines a lot. I think just being patient has really helped. Realizing you still have a role on the team even if you’re hurt. Understanding that if you’re patient you will eventually achieve the goals you want to achieve.
Q: What do you plan to do after graduation?
EL: I am most likely staying a fifth year because I am in the 4:1 Accelerated Master’s Program for Education. My plan is to hopefully use the eligibility I have from (the) COVID-19 (season) to continue to compete. After that, I would love to be an elementary school teacher.
JZ: Right now I’m looking at pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration and hopefully continuing my running career at another university, but I’m not 100 percent set on anything. Possibly continuing into law school.
MS: I plan to possibly come back for a fifth year, and if not, to work in real estate development hopefully. I think Lehigh is really a great place and I love to learn, so doing a master’s program would allow me to do that for another year. I just feel like I owe it to myself to have one more shot at running a good cross country season.
NC: I am still pretty undecided, but right now I am leaning towards working for some sort of medical device company because I am a bioengineer. I will keep running and try to find some random fun 5ks to do. Keep training on my own, but still try to find the competitive aspect out there somewhere in the real world.
Q: How will you take the lessons you have learned from cross country and incorporate them into your post-grad life?
EL: One of the biggest lessons I specifically learned last year is this innate ability to keep moving forward. That’s become a mantra to me in the past year or so. No matter where you are in your life you just have to keep taking another step forward, whether that’s physically or mentally. It’s all about growth. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you’re succeeding or you’re failing at whatever point in your life. You’re still moving forward and that’s something to be proud about. I have learned how to be extremely resilient, though at times it’s felt a little bit insufferable. I know that’s something I am going to take with me wherever I go and it’s going to make me a stronger person because of it. At the end of the day I can be very thankful for that trait.
JZ: I think cross country as a sport teaches you a lot about dedication and a lot about what being “all in” on something really means. You don’t get better at cross country unless you are completely dedicated, unless you’re willing to do all the little things right outside of the sport. It shows that even when you do the little things right, sometimes you’re going to flop. Learning how to deal with adversity has been a huge thing for me with a lot of injuries and a lot of setbacks. Outside of the sports aspect, cross country is a huge community. Learning where you fit in that community, where you bring value as a person, and how you can bring people together has been a huge thing that I will bring forward in the rest of my life.
MS: Running cross country here has shown me that on some days you’re not going to want to put the work in, but you still have to find ways to stay motivated and get it done anyway, especially through all of the COVID-19 shutdowns and all of the times we haven’t been able to practice together. We’ve still done everything 100 percent on our own. Thinking about the end goal is what’s going to make you get out of bed everyday even if you don’t want to.
NC: Time management skills, because to be a three sport athlete and an engineer at Lehigh is tough already. Finding the time to make connections with people on the team and outside of the team, while also balancing athletics and school. I feel like that will eventually help with the chaos after school of finding a job and living in a new place. Realizing the skills we have learned being an athlete and a student in college.
Q: What will you miss the most about Lehigh?
EL: The people and the friends I’ve made. I think there’s also something to be said about routine. I came from Southern California, so it was an adjustment coming here and getting used to being somewhere new and different. It’s a little bit scary thinking about how I’m going to have to do that all over again. I am just going to miss the connections that I’ve made with people I probably won’t see as much. Also, eventually not being on an organized sports team is gonna be really sad. It’s now my eighth year doing it, so it’s just been a part of my life for so long.
JZ: I think I’ll just miss the bonds that I’ve made at school and the bond of a smaller team because we’re only 20 girls and you get really close with everyone that you run with. We are with each other everyday and we talk every single day. We live together, we eat together, we do everything together. It’s going to be hard to give that up and then go into solo running or just not running anymore. Its been such a big part of my identity so I think moving on is going to be difficult (by) leaving that community behind but still trying to stay in touch and figure out what I want to do with my future as well.
MS: I will miss having 20 other girls to talk to every single day to do anything with whenever I want. It’s just a big family, and starting over somewhere new, it’s unlikely that I will find 20 new people off the bat like that.
NC: Definitely the team aspect of it. All of our teammates live on the same street. It’s so much fun to walk around your house and see your teammates. Every class lives together on one street so it’s so much fun just to all be together. We always do team pasta parties before races and go to Dorney Park. Just always having that network of people that you know are there for you and you can see at any time.
Q: What is one moment from Lehigh Cross Country that you will never forget?
EL: Running at Paul Short. Any race on our course is extremely special. I can think back to moments during the race — racing is not the most uncomfortable experience because part of it is pushing yourself to be in pain so you can be faster — but I can vividly remember during the race how much fun I was having getting to run on our course and compete with my team. I can’t even put it into words. It is a very special experience.
JZ: Probably Patriots my freshman year. The Patriot League Championship was freezing and absolutely pouring. The entire course was soaked and it was a mess. But, out of that we placed second and it’s been our best finish since I’ve been here. To do well individually and to do well as a team and come together afterwards and shock the league and ourselves that we did that well in the midst of crazy weather. It was just so fun and feeling on top of the world for that season was such a great time.
MS: I will never forget one time me and my teammate Nicole missed the bus from the hotel to the meet when we were in Virginia as freshman. We didn’t end up getting in trouble, so it was a funny memory I’ll always remember.
NC: We go to Dorney Park as a team every year in October and it’s with the whole men’s and women’s team and it’s so much fun to have 40 people show up at an amusement park and go on rides together. It shows we can work really hard during practice and be able to have fun and enjoy spending time together.
Q: What advice would you give to the freshmen currently on the team?
EL: Live in the moment as much as you can and be patient. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I would really emphasize the importance of establishing real relationships with people. That is so much more meaningful and important than running well or the academic side of things. To know that you’re not alone through this, and you have people to lean on. Don’t be afraid to get close to people really early because that’s what we all want to do.
JZ: Running in general is such a numbers sport. Everything you do is numbers. Your pace is calculated everyday. You can stare at your watch as long as you want but the numbers don’t take in life. A lot of things happen throughout your collegiate career that you never expect and it causes a lot of difficulties and makes running really hard. Learning to enjoy things outside of running and to be proud of yourself for showing up everyday is just a huge thing.
MS: Something I always say is that me and the girls in my class had a really successful freshman season, both performance wise, and academically and mentally we had a really great year. I think it’s because we let freshman year mold us instead of trying to mold it. We were oblivious to things as they were in the moment, didn’t try hard to compare ourselves to our high school selves and just let the experience take control. Listen to other people and just let the year make our destiny for us.
NC: Take it all in.Try not to rush it, enjoy wherever you are on the team competitive wise, enjoy the people you’re meeting. Don’t rush through it and take a moment to enjoy where you’re at, what you’ve achieved and how much you have left to come.