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Colorado Student-Athlete Spotlight: Allie McLaughlin
February 24, 2010

By Nicholas Bernal
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

University of Colorado freshman distance runner Allie McLaughlin has spent her first semester and a half at Boulder turning heads—on and off the fields of competition.

McLaughlin was a cross country All-American during her freshman campaign, and in the process shocked a number of competitors and spectators alike.  Not only was she a true freshman, but she does not look like your average college freshman; she stands at 4’10” and weighs in at 80 pounds. 

She thinks that her size can definitely be an advantage because competitors underestimate her based on her smaller appearance.  She takes some satisfaction in being able to surprise people who underestimate her undeniable talents.

“I like [being smaller],” McLaughlin said.  “I think they think I am pretty young and not too experienced and probably not that good.  It gives me a little more fire to go out there and prove them wrong and beat them.  It’s fun to do because some of the spectators are pretty shocked because I look smaller, younger and not as strong as the other runners that I might not do as well, so it’s fun to try and prove them wrong.”

McLaughlin started her athletic career at CU with an impressive cross country season.  She got noticed early and often, opening the season with back-to-back second place finishes and continuing to run strong through the season. She placed second at the Big 12 Championship and fifth at the NCAA Championships.

When asked what her best attributes as an athlete are, McLaughlin does not hesitate.

“[It’s] Probably my ambition, I love to win and do very well,” McLaughlin said. “I’m really competitive with myself as well, workouts are almost as fun to me as the races are so getting better and training are things I like to do and a big part of why I do so well in competition.”

McLaughlin’s talents extend well beyond the scope of competitive long distance running, as she was a standout in multiple sports growing up.

“I played lacrosse and ice hockey in high school,” McLaughlin said.  “I was on varsity all four years in high school and the team captain my junior and senior year; we won the Colorado State Championship my senior year. As for hockey, I played boys through eighth grade and then my freshman and sophomore year I played on the U-16 AAA Colorado Select girl’s team in Denver.  We made it to nationals both years and it was a lot of fun, but my junior year I decided to start running and I chose that over hockey and that led to where I am today.”

McLaughlin said that the Colorado coaching staff was a big reason why she decided to come to CU, and so far she has been very happy with her decision. 

“The coaches have been wonderful,” McLaughlin said.  “They have been my favorite part of the program so far.  My teammates are amazing too, they have really encouraged me.  My coaches have been really concerned about me doing too much and they have done a great job of holding me back and I think it will make me a lot better in the long run—which is exciting.”

One of the most important things for an athlete and a coaching staff to have is a common train of thought, and clearly McLaughlin and the Colorado coaching staff are on the same page as head coach Mark Wetmore had a very similar view on her training.
“Our observation of Allie in her recruiting process is she tended to be a little impetuous,” Wetmore said.  “So we’re trying to hold her back and assigning her to stay with teammates, but they can tell between their respirations and her respirations in practice that she has a couple of sprints in her.”

With the indoor track and field season starting to hit its stride, McLaughlin is continuing to work hard and prepare herself for competition.  She admits it is a little different from training with just distance runners, but likes the change from the norm.  Although her sights are set more on the outdoor season, she realizes that the indoor season will be crucial to her success when it comes time to move outside.

“I would love for our teams to do well at the Big 12 indoor meet and that it sets us up for outdoors,” McLaughlin said.  “I want us to place well in outdoors. I think the meets will be more fun because there will be more kids and I am used to just traveling with the distance kids.  Personally, I would to love to run some fast indoor times but my training has been a little different.  I’ve been a little up and down in my training so I just want to get through indoors strong and use it as a pad to jump into outdoors.”

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