About five kilometers is about three miles, which is the same distance between Morgan State and Towson University. Most people would not walk that distance let alone, try to run it. This is what senior cross-country runner Karen Escobedo does every weekend in under twenty minutes.
Escobedo has been the anchor for the women’s cross country team since her freshman year. She has won multiple athlete of the week awards, including one this season when she won the Delaware State Invitational by 15 seconds, setting this season’s fastest time. Her individual performance has been documented but she wants to focus on her team’s performance.
“Even if I win alone, I’m not winning as a team,” said Escobedo,”It’s better to come back with a trophy. We’ve been working a lot together this year and finishing closer, and winning.”
The team has been successful this season winning three different meets already, even one without Escobedo because she was out with a cold. This year’s success does not come as a total surprise to her because the team has been together for a while.
“Most of the girls, they all do the same event, so they have been running together for a long time,” said Escobedo,”even though I run the longer distance, I still run with them in practice, so regardless what season, which event, we are comfortable with each other, and still stay competitive.”
Cross-country runners prepare like other athletes, but Escobedo has a routine that she prefers to follow the night before a meet. She eats a lot of pasta in what runners call “carbo loading” in order to build up energy to run three miles. She also likes to get plenty of sleep the night before as well. She makes sure she is healthy, getting treatment from trainers, because she doesn’t like to run when something doesn’t feel right.
Escobedo hopes that this year will finish with a MEAC championship for the team. In the past the best they have finished was in 2014 when the team finished second to Florida A&M. She was a major part of that finish coming in third place overall. The past two years have not lived up to expectations with the team finishing outside the top five.
“I feel like we have really good chance, they [FAM] have one or two top runners, but like I said earlier it doesn’t take one person to win it takes all of us.” said Escobedo, “We are pretty much at the same [level], regardless of how fast they run, it still takes a team to win.”
In the future, Escobedo plans to be an elementary educator and wants to focus her attention on inner city schools. She feels that these schools are in desperate need of support, and are often neglected by the system.
“I’ve notice the big difference between urban and suburban schools, I just really wanna change how the school systems are here.” said Escobedo,”our test scores aren’t that great, and it’s not because we are dumb, it’s not the kids fault. I just want to fix it up, because there are a lot of things that can be done, and it could take one teacher to help.”
Escobedo has set lofty goals for herself and the team this year. She hopes to beat her personal record and help the team score as much as possible. She hopes to continue to lead the team with her performance and leadership, and finish the season as the best cross-country in the MEAC.