Short sprinter Liza Toll ’24 of Harvard, Mass., is gearing up her first indoor season as a Panther. In this edition of seven questions, she talks about being on a relay team, pre-race rituals and an exciting return to normal competition.
Charlie Keohane: How did you start running?
Liza Toll: I started running with a kid’s track program in town when I was eight or nine. I actually wanted to start running because both of my older siblings ran, and so that was always a thing that I saw growing up. I saw how much they loved to run, and it always looked very fun to me.
CK: What events do you run and why do you like them?
LT: I run short sprints. So indoor, I run the 60 meters and probably also the 200 meters. Outdoor, I run the 100 meters, the 200 meters, and also the 4x100 meter relay. I really like the short events because you really just get to go as fast as you can, and there’s something really fun to that. The 4x100 is probably my favorite because it’s my favorite distance combined with getting to work directly with my teammates. Relays are always good energy and exciting.
CK: How are you feeling about your first official season with the Panthers?
LT: It’s a little weird to think how sophomore year, after having kind of run for a year here, we’re going to have our first normal season. It’s a little odd to be starting as a sophomore basically, but I’m excited to see what normal competition looks like and hopefully have more chances to compete than we did last year. Last fall and winter, training without competition was just really hard mentally because you’re not working directly towards something, and competition really gives you those deadlines and goals. It’s really nice to have that in mind as something to work towards.
CK: Do you have any fun pre-meet rituals or traditions you like to follow?
LT: I always do that exact same warm-up, and there’s one little jump that I always do. I remember someone taught me in seventh grade. She taught me this little jump thing, and because I looked up to her at the time, that was something that I really took to heart, and it became a part of my pre-race routine. Even though I haven’t talked to her in years, it’s still something that has stuck with me.
CK: What is something people might not know about running?
LT: I think one thing that people tend to have wrong about track is that they see it as something that’s such an individual sport since people are running their own races, but we still have a really strong team dynamic, and everyone is still there supporting each other and cheering everyone else on. Everyone’s still working together even though we’re still running on our own — it’s still a team environment.
CK: What do you study and what are you involved with outside of track?
LT: I’m a biology major and I plan to also declare a Spanish double major. Outside of academics and track, I work for Oratory Now as a Public Speaking Coach, and I recently started working in Eric Moody’s lab as a Research Assistant, which has been a lot of fun. I’m also on a quest to go to as many different towns in Vermont as I can, so that has been a great way to go out and see some really little places that definitely would not be a destination otherwise.
CK: What do you like about the Middlebury team specifically?
LT: I love how big the team is at Midd. Even though that means you’re not going to be best friends with every single person on the team, it’s really nice to walk around and see so many different people that I know through track. I’ve definitely talked to a lot of different people who I probably would have never had another reason to talk to. Having that really extended community is something special.
Charlie Keohane ’24 (she/her) is an Editor at Large. She previously served as the SGA Correspondent and a Senior Writer.
She is an environmental writing major and a psychology minor from Northern California. Outside of academics, Charlie is a Senior Admissions Fellow at the Middlebury Admissions Office. She also is involved with the women’s track team and hosts Witching Hour, a radio show on 91.1 WRMC. In Spring 2023, she studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, watching Greta Gerwig movies, polar plunging, sending snail mail, and FaceTiming her rescue dog, Poppy.