Former Regional 7 Star, Tuxbury, Healthy and Ready to Run Hard this Spring for Bryant University. Story by John Torsiello.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
Former Northwestern regional 7 standout Annmarie Tuxbury has had her highs and lows during her tenure at Bryant University.
Highs for the sophomore include being named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year after leading all freshman across the line at the NEC Championships with a ninth-place finish and following up with a stellar season last fall for the Bryant cross-country team, making All-NEC once again.
But injuries have curtailed her contributions to the school’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams the past two seasons. Yet, she is optimistic about the upcoming outdoor season now that she’s feeling fit and raring to go.
“I am so excited for outdoor track. I missed the outdoor season last year due to a stress reaction in my leg, so I am really looking forward to getting back out there as outdoor is my favorite season.”
This past winter she missed most of the indoor season after slipping on some ice during a training run in December and injuring her sacroiliac joint. She did have the opportunity to run a 5-kilometer race early in December, which may become an event she will focus on.
“I also had the opportunity to anchor the distance medley relay team at our conference meet. Relays are my favorite event to run in, so I was so fortunate that despite missing most of the season I could still help the team out. We ended up coming in fourth.”
Tuxbury says she isn’t setting any “big goals” for the outdoor season, “as then it’s easy to get frustrated if you don’t meet them. I always want to run PR’s and to do this my main goal is to stay healthy and injury free, as consistency has been one of my biggest struggles right now. I am also really looking forward to running the 3-kilometer steeplechase this season. In high school I ran the 2-kilometer steeple so running the 3K will be a new experience.”
Tuxbury, the daughter of Lila and Stephen Tuxbury of New Hartford, had an enormous career at Northwestern. She was a four-year letter winner in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field. She earned All-State recognition in each of her four years of high school, winning the 2011 Class M cross-country title after finishing runner-up at the state meet in both 2008 and 2010.
She finished second at the State Open her senior season in 2011, and earned All-New England status in cross-country her final three years.
She also excelled on the track as well, earning All-State honors three times and winning the state 2K steeplechase title as a senior. She finished eighth in the 5,000-meters at the Nike Indoor Nationals in 2010, and set school records in the 800-, 1,000-, 1,600-, 3,200-, and 5,000-meters, 2K steeple and 4x8 sprint medley.
She was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated in the top 10 of her class.
“My college running career has been a very positive experience,” says Tuxbury. ”It has been fun getting the opportunity to travel. I kind of enjoy the long bus rides with the team and I love when we get to stay at hotels. It has also been nice to have a team of other girls to practice and run with every day. Having teammates that are faster really motivates me to try to get to their level. As for my actual running it hasn’t been the smoothest process and has been a learning experience.”
Tuxbury adapted fairly quickly to collegiate competition and the college lifestyle.
“Being on the cross-country team I got to come to school a week early before everyone else moved in. This was nice because I got to become friends with all my teammates right away. I was also fortunate enough to be placed with a great roommate who is also on the team, so I had a best friend right away. I was also fairly good at time management and so I didn’t struggle dealing with how to balance extra free time. At Bryant, all the classes are in one building so it’s kind of like high school. The hardest thing for me was getting used to the idea that your only grades are papers and exams.”
Tuxbury chose Bryant, a Division I school located in Smithfield, R.I., “Because I really like the small campus and how it was secluded and not in a city. Academically, it also seemed like a very good fit. The small classes allow the professors to get to know you on a first name basis, which is something you miss out on at the bigger schools. I also like Steph Reilly, my coach, and knew she would be a good fit to allow me to continue to improve and enjoy running.”
Tuxbury is an Applied Mathematics and Statistics major.
“I was going to major in something different. But I always found my way back to math. Bryant also makes you minor in something in the College of Business if you are a Liberal Arts major, so I am a Business Administration minor and am thankfully almost done with all the business classes.”
Tuxbury began running in the third grade to prepare herself for a school fitness test.
“I took it very seriously. I went out and practiced by running down my driveway because I wanted to be the fastest in my grade. I also did track in middle school and ran the mile, but I was pretty caught up on being a hurdler.”
Ironically, she didn’t take to cross-country early on in her scholastic career because soccer was a big part of her life.
“That’s what I wanted to do. But I would do a road race every now and then and did fairly well. The summer entering freshman year I had been doing the White Memorial cross-country series and decided that I wanted to run cross-country.” She adds, “I wouldn’t call myself a superstar right away but having done soccer and swimming prior to running had me in good shape. Once I started running and figuring out how much I could push myself, I was competitive right away.”
Tuxbury says one of the most difficult adjustments when arriving on campus was figuring out how she was going to keep in touch with family to friends.
“I still keep in touch with teammates. It’s a little easier right now as my younger brother Zach is still in high school, so I can hear from him how people are doing and when school is over I will go watch his meets. So I get to see some of my high school teammates. I will also text and Facebook message them. I also happen to be in the same conference as Dan Santella, so I see him at our conference meets.”
The former Regional 7 star says her favorite moment as a collegiate runner was when her cross-country team placed second at the 2013 NEC meet.
“It was the best Bryant has ever done and we got a big trophy. The meet was a 10-hour bus ride, so it was exciting that we were able to come home with some hardware from this long trip.”
Annmarie Tuxbury would surely like to help her teams bring home more hardware during her next two-plus seasons at Bryant.