The senior took a resounding win in her opener last month at the Portage Early Bird Invite. There, Vander Lende cruised to first place due to her 17:50.00 clocking. Her result currently stands as the fifth best in Michigan and at No. 16 nation-wide.
The honors don't stop there for Vander Lende; during the initial MileSplit 50 release, she was listed at number ten. Consideration was given to her impressive 2018 debut and the fact that she's a former state champion (2017 LP-1 - 17:16.80).
Vander Lende's career highlights include a twenty-fifth place showing at Foot Locker Nationals in 2017, a 5K pr of 17:09.42 and a 1600m outdoor track state title during her junior campaign (LP-1 - 4:45.17).
MileSplit tracked down Ericka following her race at the Portage Invite for insight on her performance, as well as her outlook for the season.
"The race at the Portage Invite went well. I felt relaxed the whole time and I was happy that my time was faster than it was at this point last year. My plan was to not go too hard due to it being the beginning of the season and I normally don't wear spikes for the first few races. I do this because my goal is to run fast times at the end of the season when it matters the most."