Freshman Sets Pace For Track

Freshman Lindsey Scherf flew to France for the first time last weekend, but her trip was no pre-spring break vacation.

She was the youngest of six runners from the United States who competed in the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in Saint-Etienne/Saint-Galmer, and, with a time of 22:12, Scherf managed to place 18th individually, leading the team to a fourth-place finish.

“[France] was absolutely amazing,” Scherf said. “The country was beautiful and the experience of meeting people from all over the world, like Ethiopia, Morocco, and Brazil, was phenomenal.”

Scherf qualified for the championships in February, but first learned about the opportunity as a senior in high school.

“I had heard about [the championships] because I had competed in the trials the year before, coming in 9th place,” Scherf said. “It was something I wanted to do again, and I figured I had a good chance of making it because I improved so much.”

“Improvement” may be an understatement, considering Scherf’s impressive results as a member of both the Harvard cross country and track teams.

Scherf qualified for the NCAA finals and earned All-America honors for both sports—most recently, during the NCAA finals for indoor track, held on March 11 at the University of Arkansas, she placed seventh in the 5000 meter race with a personal-best time of 16:09.38.

On November 22, Scherf placed an impressive 38th out of 250 collegiate runners at the cross country NCAA finals, running the course in 22.12.5 minutes.

Meet competition is far from over, however, as Scherf is currently running for the outdoor track team.

She is focusing on the 5000 meter, an event which she hopes to master before too long.

“Eventually, I’d like to win the NCAAs in the 5000 m,” Scherf said.

Scherf, who has been running competitively since the eighth grade, only got involved in the sport after playing soccer, which she began in kindergarten.

Scherf competed in club soccer in addition to running for a cross-country club during her first two years of high school, but she chose to focus exclusively on running during her junior year.

“Through soccer I always kind of figured out I was quick and had a talent for running,” Scherf said.

“I ran my school mile in fifth grade and broke the school record for girls and boys. I entered our local town road race [after that] and everything progressed.”

When the time came to apply to college, Scherf—who is interested in environmental policy—liked Harvard’s Environmental Science and Public Policy concentration and, as a result, she decided to pursue her passion in Cambridge.