If Greta Feldman was going to have her best race, doing it to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships is a great time to do it.
While competing in the NCAA East Preliminaries, Feldman, a junior distance runner from Princeton, ran a Princeton record and a personal best 4:15.00 to win the 1,500 meters to earn a spot in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 7 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Her time is the third-best time in Ivy League history. She crossed the finish line ahead of the four of runners who have Top 10 times in the 1500 in the nation, including No. 3 Emily Infield (Georgetown), No. 4 Cory McGee (Florida), No. 9 Amanda Winslow (Florida State) and No. 10 Jillian Smith (Michigan). In all Feldman beat 12 runners who entered the race ranked higher in the event than she – a 15th seed.
“It was a big race for me,” Feldman said. “I was very happy with how it happened. I came in without a lot of the credentials of other girls. Based on the way I have been racing and how my training’s been going, we knew I would be competitive with them. It was nice to kind of get that (time) out there and have that race under my belt.
“I think I was the 15th seed going in. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself. My coach (Steve Dolan) had big expectations. But from the outside, there definitely was not a whole lot or pressure to do big things.”
It’s like that when your plan for the season isn’t about competing in the bigger meets during the season. When she did race, she didn’t stray too far from home, and they weren’t really focusing on the fast times throughout the season. Their objective was improving at racing in the 1500 meters. The event is relatively new to Feldman and this was her first full season doing it.
Feldman took up the 1500 last June and after running it in the regionals, just missed a trip to nationals.
“I was still able to find a bit of success last year,” Feldman said. “I was able to carry that into this year allows me to start off in a stronger place both psychologically and physically.I can say I definitely still don’t have it completely down. I’ve grown a lot more comfortable with the event. I’ve learned to become a better racer.”
“I think it was my coach’s plan all along. I never tried in high school the 1,500. I think he sort of looked at me and said you’re going to be our 1,500 runner. He didn’t want to rush me into it right away. He allowed me to get used to the college running team. Halfway through he said we’re going to try it out now and it has worked out well.”
Knowing her season was designed more as a learning year rather than winning, took some adjusting for Feldman.
“It was about patience this year,” Feldman said. “It wasn’t about going to the big west coast meets in California. It was more important to learn how to race it than to throw myself into races that may be over my head or maybe I didn’t need. We put a lot of stock into the end of the season. We knew if we were patient the times would come. And sure enough it did. My coach sat me down at the beginning of the year and told me. ‘Our goal is June (nationals). We’re going to set you up that come June this time of year, you’re going to be running fast.’ So I think it was in the cards. It was sort of the plan all along. It’s kind of nice to see it all come to fruition. We were not necessarily surprised (at her East Regionals results), but it was a big kind of relief to kind of finally get that off my shoulders and get out there and run a good race like that.”
If anything one would think Feldman should be considered one to watch in Des Moines. That’s something she isn’t really embracing. She isn’t in it for that kind of glory, but to come back home with a victory.
“I think going into it is will be a little bit different going to nationals,” Feldman said. “I’m still relatively a newcomer, so I don’t think that people are going to target me. But it’s definitely going to be different going into next week personally. With the confidence it gave me it will be a lot different.
“I’m not sure of people will look at me differently, but for me (regionals) was definitely a big confidence booster. Knowing that I can run with the best is hopefully going to take me somewhere.”