RIT/NTID's Erin LaFave Competes in NCAA Cross Country National Championships
- Previous RIT best finish in an NCAA finals for women's cross country was 88th place.
- Erin LaFave didn't join the cross country team the previous two years to focus on academics.
- She competed in the Deaflympics in Taiwan in 2009.
An RIT/NTID student ran for a college record and potential national championship Nov. 19 at the Women’s Cross Country Division III NCAA Finals in Oshkosh, Wisc.
Erin LaFave, a visual media major from Troy, Mich., was one of 280 women from across the United States competing in the 6,000-meter race.
She finished in 96th place, edging out more than half of the competitors. She finished the race in 22:16.75, improving her college record set last weekend by nearly 10 seconds.
LaFave finished 9th overall out of 256 women at the NCAA District Championship held earlier in the month. She qualified for the NCAA Championship by setting an RIT record for the 6,000 meter-race at 22:26.2.
She was only the fifth female cross country athlete from RIT to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The best RIT finish in the championships was 88th place (Trisha Sliker, 2006), said Women’s Cross Country Coach David Stevens.
LaFave was an All-American athlete at Lahser High School in Bloomington Hills, Mich. and competed in the Deaflympics in Taiwan in 2009. She joined the RIT cross country team her first year, but decided to take the next two years off as she switched majors and focused on her academics. Stevens says it is rare for athletes to return once they have left the team, but LaFave had the desire and motivation to fulfill the needed requirements to rejoin the team.
“Erin certainly has taken a very unique path to get where she is,” Stevens says. “Erin is better in terms of performance, and also leadership. She’s shown a lot of leadership skills supporting teammates and helping them get motivated for competition. She’s very easy to be proud of.”
LaFave, who runs five to seven miles a day for practice, tried team sports as a child but discovered she had the talent for cross country. “I like the competition,” she says.
She traveled to Oshkosh with Coach Stevens, an interpreter, Doni LaRock, and teammate Katrijn Molin for support.