Anna Hiebner

(Orange City) -- Former Treynor multi-sport standout Anna (Teigland) Hiebner is set to run her final race of a standout career at Northwestern.

Hiebner will be among the best NAIA cross country runners in the nation on Friday in Cedar Rapids at the NAIA National Championship. Hiebner’s ascent in the sport was one that was heavily unexpected, even from herself.

“I didn’t even have track or cross country on my radar coming into college,” Hiebner said on Thursday’s Upon Further Review. “My coaches kind of pushed me to look into running track, and they had a spot for me on the team.”

In her freshman year, she didn’t even compete in cross country. However, after showing her abilities in distance events on the track, she was recruited to give XC a try.

“I’ve fallen in love with cross country,” Hiebner said. “I had quite a bit of success (as a sophomore), and I obviously stayed out for it.”

Hiebner has improved from 36th in the GPAC as a sophomore to 23rd as a junior and then to eighth this past fall. Now, she will run one final race at Friday’s NAIA National Championships.

“I’m just excited to be able to compete and finish up at the national meet,” Hiebner said. “I’m going to go out there and give it my all. I previewed the course a couple weeks ago, and I’m hoping to better my time from that, just give everything I’ve got. I love cross country, so I’m super excited.”

Hiebner’s success throughout the course of this season has come while navigating through the issues brought on by the pandemic. She actually qualified for Friday’s championship during the fall.

“It has been definitely challenging,” Hiebner said. “Even training during COVID, it got drawn out quite a bit. There were some moments where it was hard to stay engaged, but thinking of the team and what we want to do this year helped motivate me.

“It was weird qualifying for nationals in the fall and then realizing I’m not going to run until April. It was hard to stay motivated, but I have great coaches here at Northwestern.”

Friday’s race is scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM. Listen to the full interview with Hiebner below.

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