Stress Injury Didn’t Stress Out Resilient Runner Lauren Rogers
Briarcliff High School track star Lauren Rogers had a stress reaction early in her sophomore year of spring track and was out for the remainder of the season. She entered the fall of her junior year on the cross-country team, but the injury quickly came back.
It was not until that spring that she was able to rejoin the track team, having lost nearly an entire year of training due to the injury. But despite the setback, she was there when it mattered to help her teammates notch a league meet victory.
During that time, Lauren maintained a positive outlook by understanding that she needed to be fully recovered before she could improve. “I told myself it was better to take the time to heal and come back when I’m fully healed,” she said. “If I try to go back too fast and quickly, then it will only set me back further, and it will be a recurring injury.”
Lauren’s wise decision paid off, as she fully healed to become injury-free in her senior year.
Lauren started running thanks to her twin brother, who started competing in cross-country the fall of their freshman year. She had planned on running track only when she was a freshman. Her coach, having seen her talent on the track, convinced her to give cross-country a try.
Initially, she was hesitant because she was accustomed to running sprints, but quickly realized that not only did she like running distance, but also was good at it.
According to her coaches, “Lauren has been the anchor of the Briarcliff cross country and track teams for the past three years. She has served as a five-time captain, accumulating multiple all–league performances along the way.”
Additionally, Lauren found that giving back to the running community has been particularly rewarding. She has volunteered at Jamie’s 5K Run for Love in Armonk, and also takes part in trail maintenance at Rockefeller State Park Preserve with her teammates.
During the pandemic shutdown, Lauren made it a personal goal to run and know all of the trails in the park. Not only did it keep her active, but it’s been rewarding to look at the map, and know that she has covered it all.
CORNELL CAME CALLING
Lauren also makes academics a priority. A member of the National Honor Society, she has excelled in AP and Honors courses. Lauren is particularly drawn to Physics, and has enjoyed the hands–on learning that she gleaned through labs and group discussions.
In the fall, Lauren will attend Cornell University to study Engineering.
Q & A with Lauren Rogers
How do you balance community involvement, as well as academic achievement, with the commitment of athletics?
I always put school first and make sure that I get my work done as early as I can by working during lunch or frees. Especially since track meets are long and take up the majority of a weekend, I’ve learned how to work efficiently so that I can dedicate the necessary time to running while also getting done what I need to do as a student.
What motivates you most on the field, court, etc.?
A lot of it is self-motivation to improve and reach my goals, but it is also fueled by seeing others’ success. I’ll see somebody on my team or just in the running community come away with a big PR or achieve something that they have strived for, and that will motivate me to work harder to get to where I want to be. Since running is equal parts mental and physical, witnessing success is a way to get focused on a race and tell myself it is possible to perform better and push myself more than I thought I could.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment (could be academic, athletic, community-related)?
Probably coming back from a prolonged injury and then helping my team win the cross-country league title in junior year. My sophomore year of spring track, I had a stress reaction only a few meets into the season, and I wasn’t able to compete for the rest of the year. Come early summer, I thought it healed, but when cross country started in the fall, the injury came back and I lost a lot of training then too. It was really hard coming back from nearly a year off of racing, but when the league meet came, I knew I had to step up to be there for my team. We ended up winning, so accomplishing a team goal was the perfect way to get back into racing.
What is the most rewarding part of achieving feats for your team?
Definitely seeing everyone feeling happy and fulfilled because the hours of practice paid off. Track is such a linear and metric sport that it can be hard to see progress and be motivated if you aren’t reaching your goals, so it’s exciting when people see a big improvement, or we finally win a meet we’ve been training for. The thing about track is that you don’t need to win a race to feel accomplished; all it takes is improving yourself, and that’s the most rewarding part.
Is there someone who has inspired you, or helped you meet your achievements?
I wouldn’t be able to name just one person who has inspired me, because there are many people in my life who have inspired me to some degree. My parents, my teammates, and my coaches all play a role in pushing me to be the best I can be while also teaching me how to enjoy the challenge of being a runner.
How do you involve yourself in the community?
I mostly give back to the running community so that others can have the same experience that I was able to have throughout high school. Every year, I volunteer at Jaime’s 5K Run for Love and help organize the kids races and hand food and water to the racers. A few times a year, I go to Rockefeller with my team to cut vines so that the trails are safe for other runners and walkers. I am also a part of NHS and MHS, through which I tutor kids who need extra help and organize events such as a blood drive.
If you could describe your experience as a student-athlete in three words, what would they be?
Positive mental attitude
A native of Colorado, Samantha Jambor now spends her time as a writer in Tarrytown.