Alex Tavenier, a four-time Daily Advance Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year at Northeastern, runs steeplechase at Ohio Wesleyan College. A sophomore, Tavenier’s progress in the event has been hampered by injuries and illness.
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Photo Courtesy Mike Serbanoiu

Alex Tavenier, a four-time Daily Advance Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year at Northeastern, runs steeplechase at Ohio Wesleyan College. A sophomore, Tavenier’s progress in the event has been hampered by injuries and illness.

Alumni Update: Tavenier has hurdles to success

By Chic Riebel

The Daily Advance

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The 3,000-meter steeplechase includes 25 hurdles and seven water jumps.

But Northeastern graduate Alex Tavenier keeps running into additional barriers as she attempts to compete in the event for Ohio Wesleyan College.

Injuries and illness have slowed the four-time Daily Advance Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Last spring as a freshman, Tavenier missed the latter part of the season with a stress fracture in her femur, caused by the cumulative effects of impact while hurdling.

And this past weekend, she had to sit out the All-Ohio Division III meet.

“I was already not going to run because my IT-band is a little tight and we don’t want to take chances, but now I’m sick, too,” she said in a telephone interview Saturday. “It’s something like mono, but not quite. If everything goes OK, I should have two more meets this year.”

A couple of weeks ago, Tavenier finished second in the steeplechase as she helped Ohio Wesleyan win the team title at the Marv Frye Invitational.

“When I run, I do pretty well,” she said. “I seem to have more injuries than most people and every time I get healthy, I experience large drops in my time, but I have never been healthy enough to see whether I have plateaued or not.

“But a lot of other people on the team have injury and health issues, it just comes with the territory. It doesn’t help to get frustrated about it, there’s really nothing you can do but get healthier.”

Tavenier, who won a state 2A title in the 3,200 as a junior at Northeastern, took up steeplechase because she didn’t feel comfortable in the 1,600 or 5K.

“Three-thousand meters is my preferred distance and steeple is the only thing near that distance in college,” she said. “At first, I thought I would be terrible at it. You have to have coordination and timing. But it turns out that even though I don’t have natural grace, I have enough coordination to do steeple.

“I love it. It’s a really challenging kind of race. It’s a lot of fun to go over the hurdles and over the water pit. It requires more than just running.

“I’m just mad I don’t get to do it more.”

• Sophomore Rachelle Cleveland (Currituck) set a pair of school records for Lees-McRae during the Terrier Relays at Wofford.

Cleveland put together perhaps the best day of her career, winning the javelin throw with a school-record mark of 36.05 meters, while placing sixth in the shot put with a new program-best mark of 11.58 meters.

• Sophomore Kiel Bollero (Currituck) ran a leg on the Mars Hill distance medley relay team that finished fifth at the Terrier Relays.


• Beth Overman, a sophomore from Northeastern, is having a bang-up year at Mount Olive. Through 38 games she was leading the team in batting (.385), home runs (eight), RBIs (33) and runs scored (35).

• Caroline Umphlett, a sophomore from Northeastern, has been plagued by injury at Brigham Young. A year ago she was the team’s third starting pitcher. This spring she is 1-1 with a 6.77 ERA in six appearances.

• Katie Copeland, a freshman from Perquimans, is making the most of her opportunities at Guilford College. Although she has had only 11 at-bats, she has four hits ... a .364 average. Copeland also played volleyball for the school last fall.

• Corinne Eosso, a freshman from Currituck, is one of the top starters for St. Andrews University. She has a 5-11 record with an ERA of 5.73. She is tied for the team lead in wins and has pitched complete games in 12 of her 17 starts.


• Dori and Paige Brooks, sophomore twin sisters who played Nos. 1 and 2 singles at Currituck, are on the team at North Carolina Wesleyan, where they also play soccer in the fall.

Dori is 5-10 in singles and 4-10 with four different doubles partners. Paige is 2-2 in singles and 1-3 in doubles. The sisters have been paired in doubles three times, but have not won a match.


• Tyler Reinhold, a sophomore outfielder and catcher from Edenton, has started all 23 games for Hamilton College and is batting .292. He went to Hamilton to play football, but made the baseball team as a walk-on last spring.

• John Hunter, a junior infielder from Perquimans who also played at the College of The Albemarle, is batting .262 for Chowan University and has started 20 games.

•  Pasquotank graduate Robert Veliky, who played at the College of The Albemarle last spring, is pitching for Sussex Community College in New Jersey. He has a 2-3 record with one save and an ERA of 2.88 in seven appearances.