When Emily Oren was competing for the Hillsdale College women's track and field program, she conquered Division II unlike any athlete in the sport's history.
Now, she's taking on the entire United States of America.
Oren, a nine-time national champion during her career at Hillsdale from 2012-16, recently finished fifth in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the USA Track & Field Championships at Drake University, located in Des Moines, Iowa. Her time of 9:44 helped her earn an alternate spot on Team USA Track & Field. She ran a 9:48 in the prelims, making her times at the USA championships two of the best of her career.
"I knew that if I just competed with the girls around me, I would run fast," Oren said. "When the pack broke up a bit I was feeling really good and I knew I could start catching people."
The way qualifying for Team USA works is the following: The top three in any event get automatic spots on the team. People who finish fourth through sixth – as Oren did – earn alternate spots. Oren did earn a spot in the North American Central American Caribbean Championships, which will have its competition in Toronto in August.
"It gives me a lot of confidence when it comes to competing at that level and it just gives me more notice to keep training," Oren said of her USA Championships experience.
While at Hillsdale, Oren won seven individual national championships and was part of two NCAA champion distance medley relay races. She was part of national runner-up teams in both cross country and indoor track and was the 2016 winner of the prestigious Honda Award, which goes to the top female student-athlete in all of NCAA Division II.