Towson's Elizabeth Tauber Running On The Right Path
RICHMOND, Va. (October 11, 2013) - The CAA recently spoke with Towson junior distance runner Elizabeth Tauber, who just earned her third women’s cross country Runner of the Week honor of the fall after setting a new school record for a 6K at the Paul Short Invitational last weekend.
Tauber, a native of nearby Bel Air, Md., has impressed this season, having already won league honors in back-to-back weeks - Sept. 17 and 24 - while setting new school and personal records along the way.
“I give a lot of credit to my coaches,” Tauber said in an interview days after earning her second straight Runner of the Week nod, “because I’ve been following the workout schedule that they’ve been telling us to do every day. A lot of people have also improved dramatically. Ashley Simmons (a junior Tiger runner) has improved a lot from last season as well, so I think collectively as a team we’ve been doing really well this season.”
Tauber’s first weekly recognition came on Sept. 17 after she finished second in the 6K Delaware Invitational, setting a then-personal best time of 22:08.44. One week later, her name was called again for weekly honors after setting a new program record for a 5K (17:52.18) following a first-place finish at the Towson Invitational. Finally, after a week off, Tauber collected her third award thanks to setting a new Tiger record for a 6K (21:24.10) and placing third out of 365 runners at Lehigh University in the Women’s Brown race this past weekend.
“I think it is just incredible,” Towson cross country coach Roger Erricker said on the school’s athletics website. “We've never had someone win the award three times in a season. She has moved into an elite category. She has taken our distance running to a new level. There are not many records left for her to break.”
Even more impressive than Tauber’s accomplishments thus far is the junior’s ability to balance academics and running, when you consider that she is a double-major in speech pathology, audiology and deaf studies.
“Towson has a very good program for my major and they also have the graduate school program for my major so that was a big factor coming here,” added Tauber, whose father and mother also attended Towson. “And then add the fact that it’s pretty close to home, I really like that as well.”
Tauber joked that it’s often common for people to ask twice when she tells them about her major.
“I don’t think it’s a common major especially because it’s not very specific,” said Tauber. “Most people are interested in what exactly it’s about.”
In fact, Towson has a large academic department devoted to audiology, speech-language, pathology and deaf studies, with an overall purpose of enhancing all forms of human communication. Needless to say, Tauber says there aren’t many student-athletes currently in the program because of the workload and commitment.
“There are very few of us,” Tauber said as she laughed. “I’m going more towards the speech pathology direction and I really want to work with children who have Autism. In my later classes, I’ll get more hands-on experience. I want to work with children, always have.”
If Tauber’s not at practice running the many miles required to train for races, chances are she’s off studying. Although she admits the amount of time dedicated to her major caught her a little off guard, Tauber had an early idea of what she wanted to do in the future after college.
“I decided really early on,” Tauber said. “It was in the beginning years of high school, probably freshman or sophomore year. I met my best friend, her brother had Autism, and I met her in seventh grade and had never really heard of Autism or knew what it was. When I met him, he was one of the non-verbal children and it really opened my eyes. It fascinated me that someone who cannot really speak still can communicate with the world so I decided that I really wanted to do something with children like him.”
In order to get even more reaffirmation, Tauber spent time during her senior year at John Carroll High School in Bel Air, volunteering at a special needs school.
“I started volunteering at John Archer which is a public school for special needs children in Hartford County,” Tauber said. “I started on the weekends in high school and that confirmed me that’s exactly what I wanted to do. For my senior project, I decided to observe a speech pathologist just to make sure I wanted to do this or if I would like it … I just loved it every day.”
While grad school seems to be the next step for Tauber in a couple of years, for now, running has proven to a nice release when it comes to splitting up time between academics and athletics.
“Going to practice every day, it does take time out of your day,” added Tauber. “But you’re with your team, you can talk about other things and it’s a nice mental break from classes and homework. Also, running is a huge stress reliever for me. I can go on a long seven-mile distance run and it just kind of clears my head and then I’m refreshed to go study.”
Other CAA cross country runners might hope that Tauber has plenty of extra studying to do by the time the league championship rolls around on Nov. 2. Ironically, the course featured for the CAA title is not only Towson’s home of Oregon Ridge Park, but it’s also one that Tauber knows extremely well and has had plenty of success on.
“The Oregon Ridge course, that was the same course my high school league used when we had our conference championship,” added Tauber who is the 5 and 6K record holder for Towson. “So I’ve been running that course since I was a freshman in high school. At least 10 times I would say I’ve ran it in competition. It’s truly like my home course.”
Tauber will have one more chance to earn weekly honors, when the Tigers head to Penn State on Oct. 18 for the Penn State National. On Wednesday, it was announced by the ECAC that Tauber also won Division I Women’s Runner of the Week honors, sharing the nod with Kate Avery of Iona College.