Tischler continues to thrive for Rams

Rachel Tischler

STRASBURG — Rachel Tischler has picked up right where she left off.

After having a standout cross country season, the Strasburg senior runner is enjoying a strong start to the track and field season.

“I’m real excited with how the season has turned out,” Tischler said. “I’ve already qualified for states in two events, which is crazy because I barely qualified for regions in the 3,200 last year, and before that I’d never been close.”

Tischler won the 3,200 in the Ram Country Invitational at Strasburg on Saturday in a time of 11:54.7. She also placed second in the 1,600 in a new personal record of 5:26.86.

Maybe more impressively, she was only a second behind Rappahannock County’s Julia Wood in the 1,600 (5:25.34). Wood, a junior, has won several cross country and track state titles.

“I was very surprised,” Tischler said of being so close to Wood. “She’s very talented. I just ran my race and it just turned out that we just happened to be close. At the end, I was going for it. I tried to get her, didn’t get her, but it was a fun race.”

Her strong showing at the Ram Country Invitational helped give Tischler the Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for April 13-19.

Strasburg distance coach Jeff Rudy said Tischler ran a great race in the 1,600.

“An absolutely fantastic race, a very good tactical race — understanding pacing and competition,” Rudy said of the 1,600. “She’s a very cerebral runner and she should be just as happy as the rest of us about her accomplishment.”

In her first three years in the program, Tischler didn’t reap the rewards of the effort she was putting in, but this season that has changed.

Tischler finished 11th in the Group 2A state meet in cross country. Once the season was over, Tischler said she continued to run in the winter and that helped her coming into the track season.

“I just tried to keep going in the offseason,” Tischler said. “Keep running, stay in shape because I knew the more I stayed in shape in the winter time, the better I would do in the spring. It’s just helped me with my confidence. I know that I put the training in, so now I’m excited to see where that will take me.”

Rudy said Tischler is a great example of someone who has stuck with the program and has seen it pay off in the long run.

“We, as a distance program, talk about consistency at running, and Rachel has embraced that notion over the years,” Rudy said. “Having faith and confidence in yourself and in the system and in the program to get her to where she is today.”

Tischler said she prefers running the 3,200 because she likes running the longer distances. On April 11, Tischler finished in second in the 3,200 with her PR of 11:48.73. She said it was nice to do so well in such a big meet.

“That was a big moment because I was able to break into the 12s — break past the 12-mark line,” Tischler said. “[Competing in a big meet] is really good motivation, because there’s a lot of kids around you that you’ve never seen before, and it’s great to have that kind of energy around you.”

With a big chunk of the season still left, Tischler is in a different position than in the past, having already qualified for the state meet.

She said her big goal now is just to keep getting better.

“I’m just going to keep trying to keep knocking off time and do the best that I can,” Tischler said. “Just keep trying to improve my two-mile time, and see where I can get in the one mile. I try to focus on the 3,200 more, but I would love to just keep knocking down times. That would be great.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com