Profile: Freshman Eliza Bush has busted out of the blocks at Arbor Prep

When you Google “Eliza Bush and race results” your search returns a lot of low numbers. In fact, in the five races she has run this year, Bush has finished no higher than third.

In just her second varsity race, the Arbor Prep freshman won the 52nd annual Huron Invitational on Sept. 18 with a PR time of 18:33.6 – more than a minute better than the runner-up finisher. And that was against a field of runners from schools such as Chelsea, Adrian, Tecumseh, Monroe St. Mary CC, Grosse Ile, Garden City and Dundee.

Another impressive finish came on Oct. 2 when she was second at the 21 Legends Classic at Huron Meadows Metropark. She finished in 18:37.11, just a few steps behind Allen Park’s Lisa Luecke – who finished eighth last year at the Division 1 State Finals at MIS.

Bush said she felt confident she would hit the ground running as a freshman.
“I’ve worked really hard this year and trained a lot more than I have in previous years,” she says. “Coming in as a freshman I had an idea of where I might be as of times, however, I wasn’t really expecting to come out as strong as I have so far.”

She is clearly enjoying being part of a small, young and supportive Arbor Prep team.

“Our team is very small but a great group of runners,” she says. “We have a lot of new runners and they are doing great so far. We are a close group and everyone supports each other.  I’m hoping we just keep improving at each meet and stay healthy.”

Running seems to be in her DNA. She says she has enjoyed running from an early age. “I was known as that one kid in gym class who loved the ‘mile run test’ and other running competitions,” she says. “In 7th grade, I started cross country because I had just started to enjoy running. I never really started running seriously until 8th grade.”

Bush attended Mill Creek in Dexter and was a dominant middle school runner, finishing first in her three 2 mile runs and placing 11th at Michigan Meet of Champions with a time of 19:05.1.

“One of the reasons I feel like I enjoy running so much is because I feel ultimately you can control how it goes,” she says. “It’s really hard to have a ‘bad’ day because you decide that by how hard you work. I feel like the mentality is so different from other sports because how you run on a given day is dependent only on yourself.”

There also is a mental side of running and Bush says “mentality controls everything in running.”

“If you’re at a meet, or at practice, you always have to have a good mindset because every run really does count,” she says. “Every day I’m at practice, I act as if it is a meet by giving it my 100 percent, and I think that has helped me improve a lot as a runner.”

Bush’s process during a race is not only interesting but a key to her success. She says at the start of a race she likes to get to the front of the pack. She likes to run out front and set the pace.

“After about 400 meters, I start to settle into my pace,” she says. “Throughout my race I generally run each mile a little faster than the next because I’m always watching runners ahead of me and try to keep up with them. Throughout my whole race, I typically focus on my breathing to try and distract my mind from slowing me down.”

Eliza, 14, is the daughter of Aaron and Erin Bush. She also plays basketball and runs track.

“I don’t have much free time because I dedicate most of my time to school and sports, but when I’m not running and playing basketball I love to spend time with my family, watch movies, and cook and try different foods,” she says.

Bush has been a part of the Arbor Prep family long before she was a student.

“I have been the team manager for Arbor Prep basketball for the last four years,” she says. “My step dad also coaches there and overall I fell in love with the school and coaches. When I met the teachers at orientation I knew this is where I belonged. The small school atmosphere where everyone cares about everyone and teachers and coaches are deeply invested in you is very special, and hard to find at many schools.”

While Bush has just started her high school race, she does have some goals to reach before she gets to the finish line.

“Having the opportunity to run in college is a dream of mine,” she says. “I would be blessed if given an opportunity to run at the college level. If I stay healthy and work hard, God willing I will continue to get better.”