Senior cross country runner Christine Eisenberg in a meet on Sept. 3, 2016. ERIC SCHMID/THE STATESMAN

Senior cross country runner Christine Eisenberg in a meet on Sept. 3, 2016. ERIC SCHMID/THE STATESMAN

In high school, Christine Eisenberg needed an extracurricular activity and, admittedly, thought cross country would be an easy way out.

“In high school, I enjoyed racing but I was very lazy so I didn’t train as hard as I should have and that’s what made me very inconsistent,” Eisenberg said.

Now a leader on Stony Brook’s cross country team, Eisenberg represented the Seawolves at the NCAA regionals last year, earned all-conference honors at the America East Championships and, more recently, finished second at the Princeton Invitational.

Despite the fact that Eisenberg was not a standout high school performer, she has worked hard throughout her college career to be where she is now, head coach Andy Ronan said in an email.

There have been times where Eisenberg felt as though training was almost too much to handle. Her schedule is grueling: six days a week of practice year-round, two workouts a week consisting of a long tempo run or a workout on the track.

When self-doubt creeps in, she gets through by telling herself she can handle the training and the races, and puts her trust into her tight-knit secondary family of teammates and her coach.

“As a team, we’re very close,” Eisenberg said. “We have a lot of trust and we definitely have a lot of trust with Andy.”

Aside from her coach and teammates, she looks to her parents. Eisenberg’s father ran cross country in high school and both of her parents cheer her on at meets. “They’re like my biggest fans,” Eisenberg said.

Another source of inspiration comes from one of Eisenberg’s teammates, Christina Melian, a decorated athlete who has won America East titles in cross country and indoor track and participated twice in the NCAA Championship Meet.

“She’s been there for me when I was struggling, and she’s definitely a main reason I stayed on the team,” Eisenberg said.

Eisenberg’s determined performance earned her the title of America East Performer of the Week in early October after she placed 34th overall with a time of 20:42, helping to secure Stony Brook’s 19th place out of 48 teams in the Paul Short Run.

“She is a great example of an athlete that had a solid high school career but has grabbed the opportunity in college to take her career to another level,” Ronan said in a news release in October. “Qualifying for the NCAA Regionals on the track this past spring has given her the confidence to compete at a higher level in cross country and I expect that to continue throughout the fall.”

The greatest moment so far in her cross country career has been competing at the ECAC regionals last spring, when she ran steeple to qualify for regionals and claimed the Stony Brook school record.

“It’s very satisfying getting out what you put into it,” Eisenberg said. “I think that’s what
drives success.”

While cross country is a huge part of Eisenberg’s life, it’s not all-consuming. Balancing a full classload and working part-time as a cashier for campus dining, she still makes time to blow off steam with her teammates, making it a priority to “not talk about running.”