A tribute to my teammate, Chesney Burgweger

Chesney Burgweger. (Photo from snuathletics.com)

By Sarah Keller, Guest columnist

As I’m writing this, I feel as if I am almost writing an obituary. On a day in early December 2012, Chesney Bergweger will walk across the stage and will be handed a diploma to ensure the foundation to the rest of her career goals, all the while leaving a rather large void in the SNU’s Women’s Cross Country team.  She decided to delay graduation by another semester in order to use up her last season of eligibility, and for that her teammates are grateful. Though Chesney didn’t beat the Kenyans or break any national records, she contributed so much more to our team.

Chesney’s combination of raw talent, discipline, positive uplifting attitude, spiritual direction, constant source of laughs and overall leadership made her a dime among the women’s cross country program during her time at SNU. I am so thankful for the two years I was able to train and compete alongside her. There are several stories that I could tell you about, but I think I will refrain from embarrassing Chesney. She is continuously providing our team entertainment, awkwardly funny moments and long laughs.

There were numerous times that we would have one interval left, one mile, or one stride, and Chesney would pump all of us up right before we started, and then take off for the rest of us to chase her. During hard workouts Chesney had an uncanny way of pushing and pulling me to go a little bit harder. One of my favorite memories of us running together was this year at the UCO Land Run in Edmond in September. Chesney took off with her very recognizable long stride, but in the first mile, I was able to catch up to her. Throughout the rest of the race, she and I were able to run almost stride-for-stride with each other.  It was so much fun for me to be using each other to help with pacing, picking other girls off and general motivation. For every runner, there is a constant battle with a voice in the back of our minds that when the legs start to get heavy, the air is becoming uncomfortably thin, and the finish is nowhere in sight. During the UCO race that voice in the back of my mind was shouting at me several times, but I was able to ignore it because Chesney was there to push me a little harder. After the race, we talked about how much fun the race was for us both. Pure fun! I know without us pushing and pulling each other, neither of us would have the feelings we did about the race.

Coach Miller said, “Chesney exemplifies what a student athlete is at the collegiate level. She performed at a high level in the both the classroom and in athletics. She has been a tremendous leader for our women’s cross country and track & field programs and will be missed. The standard she has set paves the way for our current and future team members.”

During her time here at SNU, Chesney has received several impressive rewards for her accomplishments in the classroom as a chemistry and biology major, along with substantial contributions on the field:

 

NCCAA Cross Country National Qualifier

3 x Cross Country Academic All-American

3 x Track and Field Academic All-American

Top 15 SNU All Time 5K Performances

 

Chesney, thank you for all of your contributions to SNU and specifically to the Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field Programs.  The bond you have helped our team form will last much longer than our running careers. Thank you for your friendship and support; you will be missed by us all!

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