Last May, senior Maddy Rich stood on the podium at the state track meet. Her 4 x 800 m relay team had come within a second of the state record, earning them first place for the second time in a row in that event. Looking out at the patches of color of other teams’ tents, the option of running track in college opened up for Rich.
Rich will run track at the University of Kansas when she attends next fall. She decided to run as a preferred walk-on on Monday, April 19. During her freshman and sophomore year, the thought of running in college wasn’t even entertained. But as a junior, Rich finished second in her 800 m at state as well as almost setting the state record in the 4 x 800 m.
“I didn’t really think much about running in college,” Rich said. “But my junior year was so successful, I didn’t want to regret not running.”
State last year was the turning point for her; she realized that she would regret not having the chance to run in college. Rich is also looking forward to getting faster and having times to work toward.
“I’m excited to see my times go down and meeting all the other girls, ” Rich said. “But it’s also amazing that we get tons of free gear, first pick for classes and get to stay in the Jayhawk Towers near the basketball players.”
Although she realizes that it’ll drastically change her college experience, Rich’s schedule of basketball, cross country and track have prepared her for running in college.
“It’ll be totally different. Instead of getting up, going to class, and then partying, I’ll get up, go to class, study, have practice at 3 pm everyday, and then go home and pass out,” Rich said. “I’ve never not had a sport. It’ll be different from everyone else, but it fits me.”