Mac distance runner Kimber Meyer ’17 is already a two-time MIAC champion and three-time All-American—and she just finished her first year of college.
Wrapping up a remarkable year with a fourth-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at the Division III national track and field championships in late May, Meyer (Naperville, Ill.) became the only first-year student in the nation this year to earn All-American distinction in cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track. “It has been such a joy to watch Kimber grow and develop into one of the very best Division III distance runners in the nation this year,” says cross-country and track coach Betsy Emerson.
That trajectory started last fall during cross-country season, thanks in part to a large group of senior runners who guided Meyer and the other first-years in their transition to college cross-country. Meyer “just got better and better with each competition,” Emerson says, and finished fourth at the MIAC championships, leading the team to fourth place, its highest conference finish since 1999.
Then Meyer placed 22nd at the national cross-country championships for her first All-American title. “That race was exciting—everyone went out really fast, and I just tried to stay with the pack and planned to move up during the race,” Meyer says. “Toward the end, people were yelling that I could be All-American—but they were also yelling that other runners were trying to catch me. After that race, I felt on top of the world.”
The highlights kept accumulating throughout the year. After starting indoor track by racing shorter distances to improve her leg turnover and finishing kick, Meyer earned her first conference title in the 3,000-meter run, then placed fifth in the same event at the national indoor meet.
Then, at the outdoor MIAC championship’s 5,000-meter run, she won her second conference title, finishing nearly 45 seconds ahead of the runner-up. At the national outdoor track and field championship, she ran 5,000 meters in 16:37.16—an average pace of 5:21 per mile, another personal record for Meyer, and just nine seconds off the school record set 29 years earlier. Before the outdoor national meet, she was named Macalester’s First-Year Female Athlete of the Year.
Those accomplishments are even more impressive given that Meyer hasn’t even declared a major yet. (Her favorite class was her first-year course, Contagion, and she’s planning to study biology and someday work in public health.) Meyer is spending the summer at home, planning on taking two weeks off from running before training for her second cross-country season.
Her future is bright, says Emerson: “There are many more great races in Kimber, and many more moments when she will be a standout among some of the best in the nation.”