As the fall season marches on, both the women’s and men’s Newman cross country teams have shown a lot of progress through their tenacity and practice.
The qualifiers are senior Lauren Nutting from Andover, Kansas; junior Marcela Martinez from Hiram, Georgia; freshman Kevin Chemalmal from Eldoret, Kenya, and senior Alejandro Ultreras from Dodge City, Kansas.
All four athletes are thrilled to have qualified.
Nutting explained what qualifying for the national invite entails: “To qualify for nationals, I had to be a top five individual outside of the top five teams that qualified for nationals. I placed 22 overall and was the third spot to go to nationals.”
Given the high stakes of such a qualification, getting to that point mentally and physically required discipline and conditioning.
“It definitely took a lot of work,” Martinez said. “Not just from me but my teammates as well. We all work so hard to qualify for nationals. All the miles we ran each week — doesn’t matter how cold or hot it was. All the sweat and tears after each race finally paid off.”
Chemalmal agreed, stating that it was ultimately the support from his fellow athletes and leadership of his coach that got him to nationals.
“Our cross country coach, Josh Schepis, prepared a very good training schedule that helped us in achieving our goals,” he said. “My teammates helped me push through the training. I give thanks to them and my coach.”
The approaching offseason will provide them with some respite until next season. Of course, they will each miss seeing their teammates at practices and meets.
Nutting added that teamwork helped her as well; “Marcela has helped push me to get to where I am today. We both run together in practice and motivate each other to be our best.”
Having to tell the seniors goodbye is always difficult, from classes and clubs to fine arts and athletics.
“I’m happy for (the offseason),” Martinez said, “but at the same time sad because I won’t be able to see (my teammates) until next season. Except for the seniors, which I’m really sad about because I don’t want Lauren to leave — she was my running partner.”
The women’s and men’s cross country teams have become more than a group of athletes; they have formed strong bonds, supporting one another along the way to achieve great things.
To follow the ongoing stories of Newman’s athletic achievements, visit the Newman Jets official website to read articles, get information on games and stay tuned in to the latest commentary.