Track and Field

FPU freshmen is national race walking champion

Holly Lindoe embraces her coach after winning the race walk event at the New Balance Indoor National High School Championships in March.

Holly Lindoe embraces her coach after winning the race walk event at the New Balance Indoor National High School Championships in March. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

Holly Lindoe knows the way to walk.

The 18 year old from Holbrook, N.Y., won the mile walk at the New Balance Indoor National High School Championships in March. Finishing just .35 seconds ahead of her competitor, Lindoe covered the distance in 7 minutes and 26.07 seconds, one foot on the ground at all times and with her lead leg kept straight. Now a freshman at Franklin Pierce University, Lindoe will compete in events where she is allowed to move a little faster, running for the college’s cross-country team this fall and track and field team later this year.

Lindoe, who is a graduate of Sachem High School East in Farmingville, N.Y., spoke in a phone interview on Thursday about her road to athletic success. It all started when Lindoe tried out for the Sachem East track and field program her freshman year. The team of 120 girls, the largest of all the high school squads on Long Island according to Lindoe, was hard to earn a spot on. “So many girls try out,” Lindoe recalled. “Race walking was the only event I wasn’t called back for, but my friend got called back, and I took it as kind of an insult,” she said.

Lindoe allowed her disgruntlement to spur her on, training to race walk and to prove she was good enough to do it. “I really got into it, stuck with it, and got better,” she said. Lindoe mentioned the popularity of race walking on Long Island and its offerings in the Suffolk and Naussau counties at the high school level. “The top 15 high school girls in the country, or maybe even the top 20, all come from Long Island,” Lindoe said.

Lindoe would become part of that top group, going on to compete at nationals her junior and senior year. After a disappointing showing in 2012, Lindoe began training for the next year with plenty of time to spare.

“I began thinking about Nationals in August,” she said. “I really just wanted to do so well, so I took my summer training very seriously.” After doing well in her senior cross-country running season, Lindoe continued to get ready for a competition that wouldn’t take place until March. While training in a similar manner to runners, Lindoe realized that her repeat workouts were only half of her preparation. “The hardest part was the mentality,” Lindoe said. “To completely believe in everything and your training, to trust in yourself that you can do well - it was hard to get myself in that mindset. My teammates helped me a lot though.”

All of Lindoe’s hard work paid off when she beat 31 of her competitors at the New York City Armory indoor track last winter. While Lindoe isn’t sure about race walking as a collegiate athlete or perhaps at the professional level later on, she is currently enjoying running for Franklin Pierce. “The season’s going great so far. I’m getting good times and running consistently,” she said. “We’re doing a lot of running, and we’re in a position to do really well.”

Aside from the success Lindoe is already finding with Franklin Pierce’s program, she is also excited to diversify the events she competes in after being so focused on race walking in high school. “I want to try new things here,” she said.

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