Westminster, Md., is 53 miles from Shippensburg University. Westminster native, Natalie Eastwood, is used to distance and not just from a driving aspect.
The freshman is a middle-distance runner on the Raiders’ track and field squad, competing in mainly the five and 10K events for the women’s track team while also running cross-country.
Being from Westminster, Eastwood said stumbling upon Shippensburg was a bit of a “fluke.”
“I wasn’t really sure where to start looking for colleges,” Eastwood said. “My guidance counselor gave me a list with all the colleges that have journalism programs, because that’s my major, so I just went through the list and I guess it took me all the way to S to find one I liked.”
Eastwood said she enjoys SU and the program that they have here.
Before becoming a Raider, Eastwood had a lot of success at the high school level. While at Westminster High School, Eastwood earned eight varsity letters and was a two-time all-conference and all-county First Team selection. To go along with the first team selections the former Owl was a Carroll County champion at 3,200-meters during her senior season.
Upon her arrival at SU Eastwood says the transition from high school to college went smooth.
“Coach Spence has a very relaxed and laid back style,” Eastwood said. “He is very approachable and always appreciates when you go talk to him about different things.”
Eastwood held her own during her first collegiate season of running, starting with cross-country in the fall. Eastwood debuted with a 15th place finish at the annual Glen Piper Alumni Open/Cross Country Challenge, which is held on the campus of SU.
Three weeks later, Eastwood finished 19th Dickinson Short Invitational, a meet that the Raiders won.
When the spring semester finally rolled around Eastwood took to the track, competing in the five and 10K events.
Eastwood notched PSAC qualifiers in both events, the 5K coming March 3 at the Lynchburg College Dr. Jack M. Toms Open. Her time of 18:29.06 put her at No. 28 in the PSAC.
The freshman notched her 10K PSAC qualifier on April 12 in the Bison Outdoor Classic at Bucknell University. She notched a time of 39:07.70, ranking her No. 15 in the PSAC.
With the PSAC Outdoor Championships starting on May 1, Eastwood would be gearing up for the event, but a late season injury will hold her back from post- season competition this year.
Despite not being able to compete in the championships during her first collegiate year, Eastwood is working hard to get back to the track next season.
“I will be doing some cross-training along with some strength training to try and build up my legs,” Eastwood said.
Eastwood performed well with little time on the track this season, which can only give her hope for a better sophomore season.