Going All the Way

  • By Alyssa Casalino
  • |
  • November 07, 2012 03:00 PM
  • |
Mountaineer distance runner Sarah-Anne Brault is finishing her second degree and final year at WVU.

The West Virginia University women’s cross country team competed last on October 27th. The team went to the Big 12 Championship and finished in fourth place. Seven of WVU’s athletes finished in the top 50 throughout the race, and the person who led the team had not raced in 11 months.

Sarah-Anne Brault was happy to compete in her first cross-country race in almost one year. She finished in tenth place overall and received all-Big 12 honors. The redshirt-senior was excited to get back into cross-country and was very pleased with her personal results.

“It felt good,” Brault said. “It’s been a long time coming. I didn’t run last spring because of an Achilles issue, so my season opened a little later than expected. Seeing the rest of the team compete while I was barely able to work out wasn’t fun. It was really nice to get back into it. It was a good race and a nice course.”

Suffering an injury was not the only reason Brault hadn’t raced in months; since January, she had been training for the Olympics.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba native spent months traveling the world in preparation for a triathlon. Brault said she slightly favors triathlons over regular cross-country running and it’s something she’s been good at for a long time now. Unfortunately, she did not get the opportunity to go to London this summer, but she believes that the experienced she gained was worth it.

“You have to qualify on a points system for the Olympics,” Brault explained. “I pretty much had no points because I was at school, but I got to travel and train a lot. I was down in South America for a bit and in New Zealand, training there for a few weeks. It was really cool; I got to meet a lot of really cool people. I love running at school, but I really, really enjoy triathlons and I hope I can do more once I graduate.”

Brault will graduate from WVU in May with a degree in finance. She started out as an economics major and earned a 3.96 in her junior year. She’s been named a Big East academic all-star before WVU’s conference switch to the Big 12 and has been named to the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll prior. Not only has she had outstanding grades, but she’s also made a big impact through her athletic achievements.

While living in Winnipeg, she was voted the Manitoba distance female athlete of the year twice. She won the silver medal at Canadian Junior Nationals in 2006 and 2007 in addition to being named a four-time cross country provincial champion. During her time spent in West Virginia, Brault received Big East honors (in addition to her recent Big 12 honors). In 2011, she finished 8th at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional with a time of 21:53 where she earned all-region honors.

2011 was the team’s best year, according to Brault. She said that it was her ‘stand-out’ season.

“I’m really proud of what we did last year. We made it to nationals. We made it there when I was an underclassman, but this time around I was older and it felt like we were truly a team. Personally, I had a good season as well so everything about it was special.”

Brault was a swimmer before she tried running cross-country. She said it helped her to get in shape and that adjusting to the new sport wasn’t too difficult for her. She was good in the beginning and has grown to be a team leader over time. Throughout her four years of high school, she ran, and before she knew it, she had been recruited by West Virginia.

Being a plane-ride away from home can be challenging, but Brault has made Morgantown her home for the past few years. She said that she will really miss it after graduation.

“I got adjusted to the school pretty quickly. Morgantown is great because of its size, you can’t go somewhere without seeing someone you know and I think that’s really cool.

“I’m not sure where I’ll be after I graduate. There are steps towards staying in the states so I think after I graduate, I’ll most likely be back in Canada. I do love Morgantown, though, and if I get the chance to come back for a bit, it would be great.”

Once she leaves WVU, Brault has considered going back to school to get her Master’s degree. She isn’t positive as to what she would like to do with her finance degree at this time, but will tell you that she really enjoys her major. She also has very high hopes to do more triathlons post-graduation.

The WVU women’s cross country team will race on November 9 in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional in State College, PA.