We are so thrilled for our six Oiselle competitors representing at NACAC’s in Toronto next weekend! What is NACAC’s (other than a mouthful of an acronym)? The 2018 North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships, being held in Toronto for the third time. 31 nations compete for championship bragging rights! This year, all three USA steeplers are Oiselle Haute Volée (Megan Rolland, Emily Oren, and Mel Lawrence #steeplepeople)! Get to know our 6 fierce flyers below, and get ready to cheer them on!
Jasmine Blocker: Team USA 4x400m relay
Maria Michta-Coffey: Team USA 20k race walk
Whitney Rowe: Team Canada 4x100m relay
Emily Oren: Team USA steeplechase
Mel Lawrence: Team USA steeplechase
Megan Rolland: Team USA steeplechase
What are your goals for NACAC?
Jasmine: Another PR split!
Maria: I'm going big and I'm putting it out there--I WANT to podium! My best international finish against PAN AM countries was 2nd place and that was as a junior. In 2015 I finished one spot off the podium in 4th for NACAC countries so I am very hungry to get up there! Despite the hot humid oppressive weather, I know I'm in really great shape and am excited to race competitively!!!
Whitney: Represent my country and win a medal on home turf
Emily: I would love to be top 3 (a Oiselle steeple sweep would be awesome!) But time wise I am hoping to run a PR which would be sub 9:40
Mel: I feel like all season I've been trying to dip under 9:30, and I haven't gotten there yet. Instead of focusing on time, I want to focus on competing and racing well. I think if I do those two things well, I could have a shot of winning, and that's my main goal.
Megan: My goal for NACAC is to really enjoy and soak up this experience. This is my first USA track and field team I have qualified for and I am going to try and enjoy every minute of it! Post USAs I had a solid block of training until about a week ago when my lingering issues reared their ugly heads again. I knew this was most likely going to happen because I decided to push through so I could train and compete at this race. I have been a swimming machine lately but am still going to show up to the starting line believing I can compete with everyone there.
Is this your first time representing your country in competition?
Jasmine: 2nd US Team, the first was this summer's Athletics World Cup
Maria: This will be my 28th time representing Team USA, my 18th as a senior athlete and my 5th time that an international race has taken me to Canada! The most exciting part is the race; it’s what I've trained for. I love the competition, I thrive on competition! Since Canada is pretty similar to the US I am actually looking forward to having an easy travel (supper short flight from NY) and my husband and Mom can travel to it relatively easy so that makes it all the more exciting.
Whitney: This is my 4th time representing Canada. What is most exciting is that we will race in front of a hometown crowd!
Emily: This is my first time representing the US so it is all very exciting for me! I think the most exciting thing is really just going to be running with USA on my chest as that is something I have always dreamed of! I am also excited to meet the other runners on the team.
Mel: I raced for the US three times as a junior athlete, but this is my first time as a senior athlete. I'm excited to have another chance to race late in the season, I'm excited to visit a new place, and on top of all that, I'm really excited about all the Oiselle athletes who will be there and that the entire US steeple team is Oiselle athletes.
Megan: This is my first time representing the USA in a track and field competition. I made a cross country NACAC team and that was an awesome, fun experience! I think there is something special about having the opportunity of wearing your country's name across your chest at a competition. I am excited to meet runners and competitors from the other countries that will be represented and just soak up Toronto. I have never been to Canada before! Also, having the 3 women who will be representing the US in the steeple all being fellow Oiselle steeple people is going to be awesome!
What Canadian souvenirs do you want to buy? What are your thoughts on ketchup chips?
Jasmine: I'll pass on the ketchup chips haha
Maria: I don't really think I have any Canadian souvenirs in mind, I guess I want to earn a medal, that'll be the best souvenir. Ketchup chips, never heard of them, I'll have to check it out.
Whitney: I grew up on ketchup chips always a must buy when I go home!
Emily: I hadn’t thought of Canadian souvenirs, I am hoping to go to the Toronto zoo so I’ll probably pick up something there. I’ve also never heard of ketchup chips but I don’t think I would want to try them…as much as I love ketchup it’s a condiment not so much a flavor for chips.
Mel: One of my best friends is Canadian, so I feel like I'm going to have to consult her on some goods to bring back. She used to talk about this drink called Clearly Canadian, it disappeared for years, but I think it's back now. I'm not against the idea of ketchup chips. I would try most things at least once.
Megan: I love maple syrup so a bottle (or 3) of that for sure. Anything food related that is a Canadian thing I am all for purchasing. As for ketchup chips, I have never heard of these but I grew up in small town Idaho where ketchup was a part of our major food group so I am guessing I will love them!!
How do you go bananas?
Jasmine: Probably a shopping spree of some kind
Maria: I don't actually, I have nervous excitement before the race, that calm before the storm, but the storm is brewing alright. I'm excited to unleash it in the race and then soak it all in afterwards...but now that you've mentioned bananas a post race ice cream sundae sounds delicious.
Emily: This might sound lame but I “go bananas” after hard racing just by eating all the food.
Mel: That's a good question. I go bananas for a lot of life events and for friends and exciting things happening to them (sometimes involving me and sometimes not), 90's rap, and I also feel like I should say cats ;-) I will stop mid run to pet a cat I see.
Megan: I go bananas these days by being able to put my running shoes on, leave my swimsuit on the rack and being able to run!!!
Go bananas, women! We’ll be cheering for you!