WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) – Look out distance runners, there’s a new sheriff in town.
Cotter’s Lauren Ping has established herself as the runner to beat in 1600 and 3200 at the state meet, after winning both events at the invite-only Hamline Elite Meet over the weekend… setting a PR in the 1600 with a time of 4:50.64, a time she didn’t know was coming.
“You can never really know what times you’re going to get, so I didn’t know what time I was going to get,” she said. “I just went out to do my best.”
Last year as a 7th grader, Ping won the 2-mile race at the Class A state meet. At the Hamline Elite meet, she won the race in a blowout, besting second place by 13 seconds.
“That race I just went out. I was tired [after] that one.”
Even though she beat the next fastest runner by 13 seconds — an eternity in the world of running — it was Ping’s closest 3200 race of the year.
“Usually she’s out a lap ahead of most of her competitors, so that’s cool at Hamline that she actually gets to run with other kids,” said Cotter Head Coach Dave Jewison.
Jewison has coached Ping for years now, and knows how much work she puts in.
“The training she does is, I don’t think… it’d be hard to imagine unless you actually watched her, like where [her and her sister] get up and do 10 miles.”
If there was one blemish to Lauren’s weekend, it was that she didn’t set the record for the mile at the Elite Meet. She finished one second short.
“It wasn’t really like a goal of mine to get the record, but when I found out I was a second off I was like “Oh, I just should have gone a second faster.'”
Lauren Ping of the Cotter Ramblers Track and Field team is this week’s KTTC NewsCenter Sports Athlete of the Week.