Western student is the first Mountaineer to win two national championships

Alicja Konieczek
Junior Alicja Konieczek brings home wins in the mile and 3k run.

Konieczek has been running track for more than nine years. She is from Poland and while looking for colleges, was on the hunt for the perfect place to train at elevation.

 “I was considering somewhere to train in elevation. I asked around, and decided to come to Colorado. My brother came [to Western] in the summer for an elevation sports camp. He sent me pictures and talked about the coach,” Konieczek said.

Konieczek wanted to make sure that Western would be a great fit for her.

 “After seeing the record board, it was amazing seeing athletes that were Olympians after being here as students,” said Konieczek.

Konieczek has many favorite events through the year. During outdoor, her favorite is running the steeplechase race, which is a 3,000 meter race. In the winter for indoor she enjoys running the mile the most. Cross country is another favorite, because it is fun to travel with the team.

 “You’re not running individually, you’re running for the team,” Konieczek said.

In March, Konieczek brought home not one, but two national indoor track titles. This makes her the first Mountaineer to bring home two titles. She placed for both the mile and the 3k.

On top of having two national titles to her name, Konieczek is also the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) 16-17 Track Athlete of the Year.

“The goal was to get a title and be on the board in the Mountaineer Field House,” Konieczek said about her motivation for nationals.

“My biggest opponent, Emilee Trost, ran an amazing fast mile the night before the finals. This made me super stressed out and I was worried,” said Konieczek. “During the race, I used strategy grace and I knew Emilee was going to be fast, but also knew she was going to be more tired than I was.”

Konieczek paced herself the whole race and came in three seconds in front of Trost.

“I couldn’t be happy over the win even though I wanted to. I knew that in 90 minutes the 3k was waiting for me, and I knew it was going to hurt,” said Konieczek. “I just had to refocus.”

During the 3k, Konieczek said that the mile was already behind her, and she ran through the 3k with no troubles at all. She finished first with the time 9:23.19.

“It was an amazing feeling,” said Konieczek.

The track team most recently traveled to California to run. Konieczek also received an elite invite to the 3,000 meter steeplechase while in California, which will be her first steeplechase race in two years for Western. There she will be competing against three Olympians.

Story by Taya Olson. Photo by Garrett Finke, Sports Information Office.

Friday, April 21, 2017 - 1:15pm