Jan. 26, 2012
Herbert thriving in freshman season at Northwest
By David Boyce
Two weeks ago at the Holiday Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., Northwest Missouri State freshman Anne Herbert placed sixth in the 3,200 meter run with a time of 10:41.86.
A week later, Herbert took fifth in the mile at the Nebraska Wesleyan Invitational with a time of 5:15.
Where is the significance in Herbert’s athletic story?
Almost all the time success as a student-athlete in college is defined by winning trophies, medals or plaques.
In Herbert’s first regional cross country meet on Nov. 5, she finished in the top 70 and received a piece of hardware for her accomplishment. Less than three months from that day, Herbert cannot recall exactly the type of award she got.
“You get some sort of thing,” she said.
But what Herbert can easily remember is the thrill of running for Northwest and the honor of being on the team with senior Angela Adams who took first at the MIAA Cross Country Championship.
“It was awesome,” Herbert said. “I have never been on a team with a standout runner like Angela so it is really cool. She is definitely a role model for us to look up to and one day I hope I will follow in her footstep. We are really proud of her and push her in practice.”
The significance of Herbert’s story is one that you wish all freshmen student-athletes experience just past the halfway point of their first time away from home.
Herbert enjoys being a student-athlete at Northwest. She likes the school, her teammates, the coach, the freedom of being on her own and competing in a sport God gave her the ability to compete in.
You can see the joy in her face as she talks about her first five months at Northwest.
“It is awesome,” Herbert said. “I really love the ability to do things on your own time and being outside on campus. I like the freedom of doing homework and learning on your own. I like the growth.”
Herbert arrived at Northwest from Naperville, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. A natural question is how does a runner from the Windy City find her way to a small town where the wind blows?
Herbert’s father, John Herbert, was high school friends with Northwest track coach Scott Lorek. They met as freshmen at Hinsdale Central in Chicago. They remain friends today.
“I’ve known Anne pretty much since she was an infant,” Lorek said.
Herbert got her first taste of Northwest when she was a freshman in high school when Lorek took his team to Naperville for meets. She eventually visited the campus.
“I came and fell in love with Northwest,” Herbert said. “Northwest is great in science. I’m a biology major. The team really impressed me when I visited. The girls are a family. It was a great place to be. I love it so far.
“We push each other, but it is never dramatic. We pull each other along to get better. It is really a good atmosphere to get better. We are not mad when one person beats another person.”
Lorek is pleased with the way Herbert is performing so far in the indoor season. He said he can tell her something on Friday and then watch her execute it on Saturday.
“That’s tough to do,” he said. “It takes a lot of discipline and control.”
Herbert is running for her teammates, her coach, herself and a much higher power. The higher power has helped her in racing.
It is extremely rare for a freshman to come in and dominate at the collegiate level.
“Sometimes for freshmen it is very difficult because they are not used to have so many people ahead of them,” Lorek said. “They just haven’t looked at that many backs. I tell them if you come in 10th but set a p.r., it is great.”
That philosophy and God has helped Herbert.
“I really learned that trusting in the Lord and knowing that I don’t have to be afraid of failing,” Herbert said. “It has given me more energy and more motivation for running.
“Coach has taught me the race doesn’t really start until the second half. He wants you to relax, be competitive and get into the race during the second half and pass as many people as you can. It has been a really good race strategy for me.”
A couple of times Herbert mentioned God and prayer when talking about running. It is obvious it is an important part of who she is.
“My relationship with God is the No. 1 thing in my life,” Herbert said. “I definitely want to credit Him. I know running is a gift from Him. Whenever I’m running I want to do it for Him and giving Him the honor to any success that comes my way.”
Herbert also understands that good results come with hard work. Herbert and all the underclassmen can look at Adams as the perfect example.
“What they all know was she wasn’t a star when she came in,” Lorek said. “She became very good. The biggest thing is knowing things are possible and you chase it as hard as you can.”
Herbert exudes those traits to be the best she can be. She uses the indoor track season to build for the outdoor season.
Herbert actually has an advantage over most freshmen. The Chicago area has indoor track for high school students. There are things about the indoor season that Herbert likes.
“I love that there is never bad weather,” she said. “You feel fast because the laps are smaller. There is more of a team atmosphere because everybody is stuck in the same place so you can cheer for everybody else.
“Indoor I’ve always viewed as building and outdoor you get serious. I like to stay focused, especially in training. I want to do my best, get my best time and look forward to outdoor.”
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