Miami University cross country and track runner David Eichenberger has been sidelined the past nine months due to an injury, but still garnered honors for the 2012 track season.
In late May, the Plainfield graduate earned the Capital One Men’s Track and Field/Cross Country First-Team Academic All-District honors. He was also named to the Academic All Mid-American Conference for the third straight year in cross country.
Eichenberger posted a 3.95 GPA this spring while double majoring in exercise science and history and was just one of two MAC athletes on the District V First Team.
“I mean, really, that’s the primary reason, or should be, for anyone going to college, just to get that education, so that’s something I’ve always put a lot of importance on,” Eichenberger said. “I know how much work I need to put in to achieve the level of academic success I expect from myself, and I always make sure I accomplish that first and foremost.”
Eichenberger fell victim to a couple of injuries midway through cross country season in the fall. When healthy, he scored for Miami in four of the five cross country meets he ran and finished in the overall top 10 three times.
He was named the MAC Runner of the Week and MAC Scholarship Athlete of the Week after finishing as the runner-up at the LSU Invitational in late September while helping Miami win the title. He also posted a season-best time of 25:51.07 at the All-Ohio Championships.
In the final meet of the year, the MAC Championship, he placed 74th while trying to compete with his injury. It was a far cry of what he would normally run.
“I felt almost like I had never run a step in my life before during that race,” Eichenberger said. “It was probably one of the worst racing experiences I’ve had in my career at any level.”
Eichenberger is no stranger to getting injured. He hasn’t been able to compete in a full track season from start to finish since his junior year of high school.
“I’ve almost gotten used to it,” he said. “After being out for so long, it takes quite a while to get back to that real full level of competition and I’ve never spent this much time injured and out of training. So, I’m not 100 percent sure what to expect but I still think I’ll be able to get back to the level I had been at least the last time I was healthy.”
Eichenberger is currently running about 75 to 80 percent of the volume he usually runs. He feels he’ll be back to 100 percent by the end of July and fully ready to tackle the cross country season in the fall.
“I’ve been able to run fairly consistently for the last five or six weeks now,” he said. “It’s the longest stretch I’ve been able to do in almost a year.”
Running and academics will be the focus this year. Afterwards, he looks to apply to medical school.