College: Redshirt freshman cross country and track seasons...GNAC All-Conference three times 2009-11 and GNAC All-Academic Team three times (2009-11)in cross country and twice GNAC All-Academic in track (2009-10) ...NCAA Cross Country All-American in 2009...USTFCCCA Academic Scholar-Athlete in 2010...competed at NCAA Div II Outdoor Nationals in the 10,000 meters in 2009, placing 14th...personal bests of 4:49.71 in 1500, 10:07.57 in 3000, 17:11 in 5K, 22:30 in 6K and 35:53.99 in 10K...Team captain in track and cross country in 2011 ...
High School: Mountain View High School graduate...competed in state cross country from 2005-2006...personal best of 11:24 in 3200...also participated in soccer and dance.
by T.J. Cotterill, Sports Editor, The Western Front
For Western women's cross-country runner Lauren Breihof, the spotlight serves one purpose: motivation.
Western's greatest distance runner in school history, Sarah Porter, finished her fourth and final season with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships last December. With Porter no longer around to be the team's frontrunner, the spotlight shifts to Breihof.
But that shift wasn't coach-, fan- or media-driven. In reality, it came from an unlikely source.
"I definitely put it on myself," Breihof said. "It's more of just a motivating thing. I want to prove that I'm strong, and I want to go out my last year with a bang."
She placed 31st at the national championships in 2009, earning All-American status. She and Porter were both All-Americans heading into last season. But while Porter ran her second straight runner-up finish at the championships in 2010, Breihof took a step back. She placed 49th -- nine spots short of becoming a two-time All-American.
While happy with the Vikings' strong finish -- 10th in the team standings --Breihof said her personal performance wasn't the way she had hoped to end her junior year. She was named team captain over the summer and is the only remaining All-American on either Western cross-country roster after four others graduated in the spring.
This season, she will be counted on not only to lead as the team's fastest runner, but with her voice as well.
"Last year, Sarah was always there as someone people looked up to," Breihof said. "I wasn't sure if I would be a good captain because I'm more of a quieter person and not that outspoken. But with it being my last season, there's a different vibe going in, like, `This is it.' I just want to show the younger girls how much fun it can be when you all work hard together, and ultimately how successful you can be."
It's a position she is certainly qualified for. Breihof has been to the championships in each of her three seasons with the program, placing 53rd, 31st and 49th.
With the amount of experience and talent she showed while still in Porter's shadow, it is only fitting that Breihof gets her opportunity in the spotlight.
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