Chapel Hill star Sydney Runkle has announced her commitment to Wisconsin! Runkle has been a focal point of Chapel Hill's success over the last three years. Although she had to deal with the recruitment process during COVID, she managed to come to a confident decision on her future!
COVID most definitely impacted my recruiting process. Because of the NCAA dead period and COVID related safety precautions, I was not able to meet with the women on the team or the coach. Thankfully, my Dad is quite familiar with the UW campus and Madison area, so he was able to provide me with a great tour of the area. My inability to participate in an official visit as a result of COVID made the decision making process challenging because it was more difficult to gain insight about team culture and climate.
Runkle had a stand out cross country season in 2019 and had some great performances to show for it. She led the way for Chapel Hill at last season's Greensboro XC Invitational where she finished 6th overall en route to a Chapel Hill win. She finished as Chapel Hill's #2 and 5th overall in the 3A Mideast Regional as well, where Chapel Hill was again victorious. Runkle has been apart of two runner-up teams in XC and they look to challenge for a podium finish yet again this season; or even better, a state championship. Runkle was a standout during Indoor Track as well. She finished 5th in the 3200m and 7th in the 1600m at the 3A State Meet. In her only outdoor meet of the season she ran a outdoor personal best in the 3200m of 11:19. She holds overall personal bests of 5:10 (unofficial time trial)/5:14 (official) for 1600m, 11:16 for 3200m, and 18:40 for XC 5000m.
I decided on Wisconsin because of the school's excellent electrical engineering and computer science programs, the abundance of outdoor trails in the beautiful city of Madison, and the welcoming and energetic team environment. I'm looking forward to being a part of a team that is powered by dedicated, intelligent, and competitive women. I also considered the University of Michigan, the University of Texas at Austin, NC State University, and Carnegie Mellon University.
Runkle did manage to get a visit to Wisconsin before committing. However, due to NCAA restrictions because of COVID, it was an unconventional visit for Runkle.
Thankfully, I was able to manage to take a visit to UW Madison. I was fortunate enough to enjoy many runs (often featuring both lake Menona and Mendota) around downtown Madison and the Wisconsin campus. The plethora of easy to access trails, bike paths/greenways, and parks/green space really stood out to me. UW has wonderful athletic facilities and is able to provide wonderful academic and athletic support benefits to their athletes. Most of all, though, I have been continuously impressed with the prompt, helpful, and kind communication that I've received from both the coach and the women on the team.
Off the track Sydney loves biking with her father and has biked some crazy feats.
One fun fact about me is that I biked across the state of Iowa in 2018 over the course of a week with my Dad! We took part in an event called RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.