As the top female Yellowjacket at this past Saturday’s New York State Collegiate Track Conference Championship meet in Canton, N.Y., sophomore Danielle Bessette is quickly rounding into elite post-season shape. Named to the All-NYSCTC second team, she was also UR’s top finisher at the prestigious Paul Short Run in September — serving as the only ’Jacket to finish within the first 100 runners in the highly-competitive field — and has consistently been one of the team’s top three finishers.
What is your major?
Why did you decide to attend UR?
Good question. Partially because of the curricular freedom — so I would never have to take math again — but also because the atmosphere here is so great. The student body is so diverse — there’s a place for everyone, and that’s so welcoming.
Who has had the greatest influence on your running career and why?
My high school track coach convinced me to join the cross country team for my senior year. I fell in love with the sport. Without him, I wouldn’t be here.
Are there any moments during your career that stand out as particular highlights?
Last year, I took the majority of the indoor track season off. I came back at the very end to run a personal record in the 3K at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Championships for a fourth place finish. That race proved to me that I was officially back on track (no pun intended).
What are your individual goals for the remainder of the season?
I’d like to get in the top 35 at the Regional Championships and hopefully help bring our team to an overall awesome Regionals finish.
How about your hopes for the team?
The NCAA National Championships, for sure. Eyes on the prize.
Do you have a favorite professional runner?
My favorite professional runner is probably Grete Waitz. She totally dominated — in pigtails and ribbons. That’s awesome.
What about your favorite collegiate runner?
Probably Jamie Vavra. He’s done some incredible things in his collegiate running career and that success is really inspiring. Plus, he’s so dreamy.
Bernstein is a member of the class of 2014.