Newman University’s cross country team has an especially impressive roster this season with three of its runners experiencing recent big wins and setting records.
One of those runners is Megan Reynolds, a biology major who transferred from Cowley College, where she helped her team win the NJCAA Division I National Championship. She said one of her biggest takeaways from last season is the importance of the work put in outside of practice, such as eating healthy, stretching and getting a solid night of sleep.
“Every little thing can add up, so you have to stay on top of it,” Reynolds said.
Since this is her first year at Newman, Reynolds has spent the past few months getting adjusted to her new team and training schedule — an overall enjoyable process.
“My goals for this season are to help not only myself, but also my teammates stay motivated and positive even if we have a tough day or race,” she said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to run for Newman and for everyone who helped me get to where I am today.”
Another stand-out runner is first-year nursing student Asher Brown, who won the 3,200-meter run at the Kansas state track championships this past spring. He recently set a Newman school record as well.
“The school record that I set was the 4-mile, which is a distance we only run once a year,” Brown explained. “Setting this school record meant a lot to me. Another thing that made this even more special to me was that this was set during my first-ever collegiate meet.”
Brown’s goals for the season are to break 26 minutes in the 8K run and to be one of the top freshmen at the MIAA conference meet.
“So far the season is going really well and breaking the school record is definitely my highlight,” he said. “I’m also super happy with how the team is doing overall, and I’m excited to see how we do the rest of the season.”
Another runner helping lead the team to success is Alex Ultreras, who graduated this past spring with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in data analytics with the intent of finding a career in the shoe industry, specifically for a company focused on running shoes.
Ultreras currently holds Newman’s 10K record.
“I am very grateful to have the 10K record, but records are meant to be broken,” he said. “I hope that future runners have confidence in the program to give them the motivation they need to compete.”
Ultreras mentioned that there are a number of men on the cross country team who have great potential this season and that he hopes everybody has the confidence that they can win a championship this year.
Overall, he feels extremely grateful to be a student-athlete at Newman.
“We’re the only private college in Kansas that is considered NCAA Division II for sports,” he said. “It brings so much determination and motivation for our sports to compete with larger public schools who have a little more to give in their budget.”
Coaching cross country
Coach Josh Schepis, who’s in his 22nd year leading Newman’s cross country teams, adds that if his runners are consistently getting their personal best times, then their training is paying off.
“It’s easy to get caught up in what place we get as a team, but the real way that we can judge success is just by our times, and are those times getting faster for each person,” he said. “To see the excitement on their face when they run a good race is what it’s all about.”
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