Captains’ Corner: Laney Teaford ’17

Laney Teaford  ’17

Women’s cross country

Davis, Calif.

Residence: Milham


When did you start running?

I’ve always really loved running. When I was little, anytime I saw a grassy field I would kick my shoes off and sprint across it. Aside from just running around in other sports and doing an occasional 5k road race for fun, I didn’t really start running until my sophomore year in high school.

How has the transition been to being captain of the team?

It’s been a good transition. The group of seniors this year is very strong as a unit, so leadership is really shared throughout the whole group, captains and non-captains alike. That makes the responsibilities of being a captain much more fun and manageable.

What are some of your favorite team traditions?

Tie-Dye Tuesday is up there on the list. Tuesday is our main workout day of the week so to add an extra fun element we all do our best to wear tie-dye. We had a team tie dyeing session at our pre-season camp this year, and we decided to make all of the freshman a tie-dye shirt this year too, since they are not at camp. They often get here not knowing the tradition so they don’t bring tie-dye, and of course we would not want them to miss out on the fun. We made a huge mess washing out of all the tie dye in the new dorm. They have these giant sinks in the laundry room and we got dye all over this brand new room. All the shirts kind of turned blue when we put them in the wash because the blue dye was really hard to get out in the sink, but overall they still looked pretty good.

What about the nationals trip?

How nationals works is that there are the sixteen people who fly out to nationals to run but usually around 40–50 members of the team will drive out. Last year, it was around 17 hours away. Luckily, this year it is only, like, 13 hours away, which for us seems pretty manageable. The trip is always such a fun time. It’s a lot of time spent on the road, but nothing leads to team bonding quite like spending hours upon hours squished in a car with a bunch of teammates. Watching the race makes the whole trip worth it. The cheer squad participates in what we call the “spectator race,” which we win by being the loudest and getting to as many spots of the course as possible.

Who is your favorite professional runner and why?

Lauren Fleshman is certainly my favorite professional runner. She is an incredible athlete but also an amazing writer. She has this blog where she writes a lot about running and also the power of a great team. Running at Williams, we are all so lucky to be a part of this huge supportive  team. It leads to great relationships and results. I think it’s awesome that even someone as good at running as Lauren Fleshman talks about how important a team is to happy and healthy running.

Have you met her?

Yes. One time, we high-fived. She was around for a race that was happening in my area at home, and she hosted a big group run, and at one point we crossed paths and we high fived. It was no doubt the best high-five I’ve ever received.

Do you have any pre-race rituals?

Nothing much. I try to keep things as normal as possible. I guess I try to find a nice pair of socks, or sox as Coach Pete [Farwell ’73] likes to write. I don’t have special racing socks or anything, but, as a whole, running does not do great things for socks so I at least try to find a pair that isn’t too worn out.

What are your other interests here?

I am a math major here and I actually think what drew me to math here is the same thing that drew me to running. The math department is such an awesome and supportive community of students and professors, just like the cross-country team. I also really like art and taking classes in the Studio Art department. I did not do too many art related things before Williams, and I am so glad I developed that interest here. It is something like running that I can imagine myself doing long after graduation.

Can you tell me about your T-shirt designs?

Sophomore year was definitely my peak in terms of T-shirt designing. That year, I designed the cross-country, WOOLF leader and Mountain Day T-shirts. I did a bit this year too with the women’s team and Purple Valley shirts. It’s a fun way that my interests in running and art collide a bit.