Riverhawks athlete is Runner of the Week


Chad McMeen

Runner Madison Palmer is leading the women’s cross country team on a winning steak. The Riverhawks’ next meet is tomorrow.

Dominic Salacki, Editor-in-Chief

Second-year environmental studies student Madison Palmer was the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division III Runner of the Week for cross country last week.

Palmer had led the Riverhawks’ women’s cross country team to a sixth-place ranking in a national poll of women’s cross country coaches the week before, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced.

That week, Palmer ran her best-ever time—21:24:95—at the 51-runner Towson Alumni Invitational race against athletes from some top NCAA Division I teams. She placed 21st.

She credited her sharp focus for her success.

“Running with [Division I] teams was intimidating, but you can’t let that [interfere with] your race,” Palmer said.

Head coach Susan Noble called Palmer “the tenacious leader every coach hopes for.”

She said the NJCAA based the Runner of the Week nod on how much Palmer’s times have improved from race to race so far this season.

The NJCAA asks, “Are you improving and who is your competition?” Noble told Campus Current. “So, I think [last] week was a standout week because we weren’t running against people in our [division]. We were running against people three divisions up.”

Palmer said she will continue working on improving her times. “I’m on a positive track of consistently improving,” she said.

Noble said Palmer has “grit” and is “so tough.”

“She’s one of the toughest athletes I’ve ever coached, and I know that she doesn’t need a lot of guidance [because] she has a plan in her head of what she wants to do,” Noble said.

Cross country will travel to Salisbury University for the Don Cathcart Invitational on Saturday for a 10 a.m. race.

“I’m looking forward to it [because] it’s our first overnight trip, so it should be full of surprises, fun and lots of team bonding,” Noble said. “We hope to come away really successful there.”

Until this season, the women’s team had not competed since fall 2019 because of COVID restrictions.

“You would never know this team came together less than two months ago,” Noble said in a press release. “They define teamwork both in practice and in competition. I am so proud to watch their progress.”