Newby and Schnepf race for CMU in NCAA Championships

Senior Josh Newby and sophomore Rekha Schnepf took on the 2013 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships this past Saturday at Hanover College.

This was Newby’s second appearance at the national level of competition, his first being with the team last fall. Schnepf grazed the NCAA course for the first time and is the first woman to compete in the NCAA Championship for the Tartans since the 2011 season.

Josh Newby ran a great race, placing 53rd in the nation and fifth in the conference with a time of 25:35.

Newby started the first two miles of the race pretty conservatively, and then spent the next three miles quickening his pace and making up a lot of ground.

There were 275 men competing in the race, leaving runners “jostling and elbows and spikes flying around on the turns,” Newby said.

The Palo Alto native has been running since his freshman year of high school, which is when his training for Saturday’s NCAA Championships began.

“Your fitness multiplies and grows over time, so you can’t just reach maximal fitness in just one season.… It is literally an eight year process,” he said.

The senior can’t imagine his life without running: “The discipline it has taught me and the fact that I’ve worked towards the goal of becoming a better runner pretty much for two hours every day for eight years; I have to imagine that has made me more disciplined in other parts of my life.”

For Newby, running is a battle against the mind. “It’s a release. Your body reverts to muscle memory and you zone out; you’re not worried about what’s going on in your classes or your social life,” he said.

Looking back at his collegiate career, Newby’s favorite memory was making the NCAA Championship as a team last year. “It was most beneficial bonding experience the team has had because we worked together toward the goal for the entire season and it paid off,” he said.

As a first-year, Newby looked up to the seniors in awe.

Being a senior now, it’s hard for him to believe that he is now the role model for the underclassmen.

“If I knew as a freshman that I would end up going to NCAA’s individually my senior year, I would have been pretty amazed,” he said.

In the future, Newby plans on training for marathons; the longest race he has run up to date is a half marathon. “It’s a completely different beast,” Newby claims, “it’s a mental battle way more than a physical one.”

As Newby ends his career on a high note, Schnepf is making leaps and bounds as a sophomore.

On Saturday, Schnepf finished the 6k course with a time of 23:17, placing 189th out of 280 competitors.

Although her time was not a season best, the race was a great learning experience for her.

Schnepf started running several years before high school because her father was a runner in college.

While training for races, Schnepf puts her best foot forward though is constantly worried about getting injured. “Because then you can’t run and you can’t get any better,” she said. Luckily, the sophomore had an injury-free spring and summer, setting a solid foundation for her great season.
The thought of qualifying individually hadn’t even crossed Schnepf’s mind. “I thought as a team we had a really good chance of making it together, but there are so many moving parts that you can never really predict that,” she said.

“I wasn’t even sure that I had made it to regionals, let alone nationals,” Schnepf said. “I don’t want to get my hopes up and end up being disappointed.”

After her success this season, Schnepf is destined to be a team captain, but she is going to wait her turn. “I think we have some really great upperclassmen that deserve to be captain next year,” Schnepf said.

She is excited about the fresh talent on the team: “They should know they have a lot of potential.”

As Newby ends his career on a high note, Schnepf represents the future of the women’s cross country team.