Reporting Shane Kitzman
One day of rest a month.
That rigid regimen’s one of the reasons the human gazelle Taylor Berg could bring home an NCAA crown this weekend.
St. Thomas’ five-time All-American distance runner averages 60 miles a week – yes, 60 miles a week – and has had swift feet since, well, ever.
“I have the record for second grade girls at my school – I ran an 8:27 mile when we did little kid track back in Eagan,” she said.
She’s been named the MIAC’s best in CC and track (indoor and out), she dominates league competition in the 1,000-meter run and the mile, and she’s even racked up National Athlete of the Week honors.
Now the two-time captain bookends her career on Thursday at the NCAA championships in LaCrosse, Wis. She’s ranked first in the 5,000-meter run (16:34) and is seeded fifth in the 1,500 (4:28).
Should Berg coast past the competition and win one (or two) national titles, here’s what you need to know about the senior who’s missing part of commencement to represent UST on the national stage.
This D-III athlete got D-I treatment, flying out to Walnut, Calif., to place well among nation’s best
“That was so much fun – especially because the weather was so nice out there and it was so horrible here. We ran up the mountain to get a view of the Hollywood sign, too.”
She can get bored running 5,000 meters, too
“I try to dumb myself down, and I’ll usually repeat one phrase from a song, like ‘This Girl Is On Fire.’”
Berg and Kobe Bryant have Achilles issues in common
“My heel bone was tearing at my Achilles. They went in and removed part of my bone (during sophomore year). My Achilles didn’t snap or fly up my leg, it was just a bummer because the bone was gradually tearing away at my Achilles.”
Her main competition has been featured in SI, was the NCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year and won the national CC title
“Christy Cazzola (of UW-Oshkosh) won everything in the indoor. She’s amazing and has yet to put up a good time in the 5K this season.”
The math major/Spanish minor hearts summer school
“I worked for Breakthrough St. Paul last summer — it’s kind of a college prep for middle school students. I taught geometry to eighth graders, and it was definitely awesome. They’re hilarious.”
Like any Minnesotan, she feels at home up north
“I love my cabin. It’s on Upper Hay Lake. I wakeboard, and love going on pontoon rides with my friends.”
Costa Rica polished up her second language
“I studied abroad in Costa Rica, and it was a program for D-III athletes. We practiced everyday, helped coach a high school team in San Jose, and took a Latin American Culture class.”
This fall, you can find Berg student-teaching at Edina
“What I really want to do is teach and coach high school cross country.”