Marko Tomich | Staff Reporter
Butler freshman Lauren Wood, just 18 years old, was selected to compete for the United States team in the 25th Bupa Great Edinburgh cross country race Saturday, Jan. 11.
After receiving All-Conference recognition in her first season in the Big East, Wood also was chosen as one of six junior athletes to be selected on the 30-athlete team for the United States.
Wood had already competed against some of the best the nation had to offer when the Bulldogs competed in the NCAA National Meet. In that contest, the Bulldogs finished in third as a team.
Bupa Great Edinburgh was Wood’s first ever competition overseas. She flourished in her first appearance, finishing in sixth overall in the race for team USA in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Wood said she enjoyed competing in Europe, adding that adapting to the terrain, such as hills and creeks, made it feel like real cross country and a little more challenging.
“It was a really cool experience, like a whole new environment,” Wood said. “It is just a whole different battle out there.”
With a new rocky and muddy terrain and competing in a 4-kilometer race instead of the usual 6-kilometer she is accustomed to running, Wood was able to find a winning game plan.
Wood said she went out to just have fun.
“A girl on the team had actually ran this same race last year,” Wood said. “So she kind of guided us through it and told us what to do. The main takeaway of what I got was just to go out there and have fun like a no-pressure situation.”
When asked if she thought she would once again compete for Team USA, Wood said that would be the dream.
“I don’t know how far I can get but that would obviously be just an amazing experience and a dream,” Wood said.
Wood did not take a break in her training after her first season in the Big East. She said she continues to work on improving.