The pair of Haskell runners will be competing in the marathon on Saturday morning
MARION, Ind. – Haskell runners Thomas Zunie and Talisa Budder, along with track and field coach Al Gipp, arrived in the state of Indiana this week for the 2012 NAIA Outdoor National Championships.
Zunie will be making his third straight trip to the event, but for Budder this weekend’s experience will be her first. The pair will both be competing in the marathon which is scheduled for Saturday morning at 5 a.m. central.
“I am really proud of them,” said Coach Gipp. “Many of the things they do epitomize why they are here. As far as practice goes, they come every day and give 100-percent no matter what we are doing.”
Zunie has made it to Nationals each year he has put on the Purple and Gold, so the junior feels he has found a rhythm to running on the national stage.
“I am hoping to have a good race on Saturday,” he said. “Coach Gipp just tells me to see how I feel and then at the end of the race start pushing it.”
While the Zuni, N.M. runs in the 26.2 mile race he will have a familiar face in Talisa Budder’s not too far away. The freshman will be running in her first ever Nationals event and is looking forward to the opportunity.
“It will be so great to have him (Thomas) here,” Budder said. “It will help guide me, so I won’t get lost and if I stop he will tell me to push more.”
Zunie and Budder both qualified for Nationals back on Dec. 4 in the half Marathon at Benedictine College and will both be running the same course together on Saturday.
“Just to be here with Coach (Gipp) and Thomas (Zunie) is a big honor,” Budder explained. “I am representing the women’s track and field team and he (Thomas) is representing the men, so it feels real good.”
The official start to the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships begins tomorrow (May 24), but the two Haskell athletes won’t have their moment in the spotlight until two days later. In the meantime, Coach Gipp is focused on keeping his runners fresh and rested.
“Thursday they will probably go for a 30-35 minute run,” Gipp explained. Then Friday we will probably look at resting them and keeping them off their feet as much as we can so they are ready to go Saturday morning.”
This will be Budder’s first marathon, while Zunie has already run in two during Nationals in 2010 and 2011.
Men’s National Championship Coverage:
Women’s National Championship Coverage:
(Story provided to us courtesy of Haskell Indian Nations University Athletics, for more info about Haskell Athletics visit www.haskellathletics.com)