By: Jill Wunrow (@JillWunrow)
GREEN BAY, Wis.
(GreenBayPhoenix.com) - After turning in one of the most impressive seasons
in the recent history of the Green Bay women's cross country program in 2011,
senior Lauren Mauel (Green Bay, Wis.) had her sights set on finishing her
collegiate career on a high note with the hopes of topping her junior season
Unfortunately sometimes things don't always turn out as
With the 2012 Green Bay cross country season half in the
books, Mauel has had to learn how to overcome adversity and be patient, more
than anything, while solidifying her passion for the sport, from the sidelines.
This past summer, with high goals and expectations in mind,
Mauel was running about 50 miles per week. As a result in doing a bit more than
normal, in June Mauel injured her hip flexor and was forced to take time off
When the calendar turned to July, Mauel noticed a bump on
her head. She went to her doctor and had surgery to remove what was thought to
be a cyst. Results showed that Mauel's bump was an Osteoma, which is a new
piece of bone growing on another piece of bone, a benign tumor.
Mauel began running three weeks after the surgery when she
soon discovered Fibro adenomas in her chest. With her family having a history
of breast cancer, Mauel acted fast and had the Fibro adenomas removed.
The second week of August Mauel started running again before
suffering yet another setback. Mauel injured her knee cap about two weeks ago
and has since been trying to rehab with the hopes of returning to the course
with her teammates.
"I'll try to run one race this season or may just jump in at
some point," Mauel said. "On the other hand, if it will hurt me long term it
doesn't make any sense to risk my future health."
Not only have injuries and medical issues been frustrating
for Mauel in not being able to compete, but the biggest frustration is the fact
she has not been able to compete with her sister Sarah, who is a freshman on
the team this season.
"Sarah is my best friend and we both planned to go to Green
Bay so we could run together in all the races and have fun," Lauren said. "The
same pattern happened when we were both in high school so it's frustrating."
When Sarah was a freshman at Green Bay Southwest High School,
her older sister Lauren was a senior on the team but the two were never able to
compete together because Lauren was sidelined due to a stress fracture.
Though the Mauel sisters may once again not be able to
compete with each other, Sarah is proud to follow in her sister's footsteps.
"It's cool to be following in Lauren's footsteps in the
sense of accomplishing what she did last season," Sarah said. "I really wish I
could be running with her. We're really close, we're best friends."
Sarah has done a flawless job carrying the torch her sister
handed down to her. The Human Biology major is off to an impressive start to
her college cross country career, starting off with a fifth place finish at the
UIC Opener. The following week Mauel finished third in the field of 176 runners
at the UW-Parkside Midwest Open held Sept. 8.
In Green Bay's most recent meet (Sept. 15) Sarah ran to a
first-place finish at the Concordia Invitational, the same meet Lauren won last
season with the Phoenix. Though Sarah was not running with her sister, she
certainly knew Lauren was there cheering her on.
"I can always hear her at meets and when I'm running I just
think, 'do what Lauren did last year' and I keep trying to go for her," said
"I'm really proud of her, she's doing a great job and gives
me support when I'm not able to compete," Lauren said. "We work together as a
team even though we're not racing together but hopefully I'll come back for a
couple of races and probably be in tears. It's a dream of ours to compete
Lauren's role on the team may be different for now, but the
team her sister continues to pace still needs her too.
"Whatever Lauren offers is very important to the team as
well as herself for the recovery process," said head coach Mike Kline. "It's
easy when you're injured to get distanced from the team, but we need her and
she needs us."
There's still hope for the Mauel sisters to compete together
for the first time in their careers, but for now Lauren will continue to cheer
on her sister and appreciate the lessons she's learned over the past four
"I just love this team so much and it's really hard for me
to sit out, but I'm so proud of these girls and I need to realize my role now
is just as awesome as running with them," Lauren said. "I realize I should be
thankful for what I do have because I have so many wonderful things."
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