The University of Mary’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ compete for the NCAA cross country title Saturday, Nov. 18, 10:15 CT

BISMARCK, ND — “ June 5, we started the journey,” commented University of Mary Head Cross Country Coach, Dennis Newell. That’s when 25 ladies, determined and driven to set the record straight, set out to prove that their seventh place finish at last year’s NCAA championships wasn’t good enough for their standards.

The ladies would log hundreds of miles on their own, training during the hot summer months preparing for what is always a grueling cross country season and another crack at a team birth in the NCAA championship in Evansville, IN, and a top four finish.

Meet after meet and miles and miles of sweat and tears would eventually help Coach Newell identify the seven ladies who have risen to the top and demonstrated the grit to represent the University of Mary at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Championships and Central Region Championships

To Newell, it’s more than just respectable speed that tips the scale for him as he hand picks the ladies who will represent Mary. “I look much deeper than that,” says Newell. They’re the ones that “find a way to win. Find a way to achieve the task.”

So far, two different teams have achieved that task two years (2016 and 2017) in a row—each winning a conference and region championship. It’s safe to say, all are very driven on the course and in the classroom. Here’s a profile of this year’s “Magnificent Seven:”

Rebekkah Bond, senior, Malone, NY

Why did you choose the University of Mary? I transferred to Mary from a college in PA, after a recommendation from my previous college coach. I was told Coach Newell is good with psychological and physiological aspects of running – and that is something I struggled with early in my career. All it took was a conversation with Coach Newell over the phone and I committed. No visit or anything.

What do you like best about Mary? I love my education at Mary because my professors challenge me. I love running for the coaches. I love the team, and think we have the most tight-knit group on campus. We are like family. It’s fun having this family type atmosphere far away from home.

What is your major and career goals? Exercise science major. I graduate this spring and will be doing internship in flagstaff AZ. at a performance lab and strength and conditioning gym. I hope to master in exercise physiology and work as a personal trainer.

Describe yourself? I am a passionate person. I don’t like to do anything halfway. I embrace everything I do. I try to focus and give 100 percent at everything I do.

What do you like doing in your spare time? I am into hiking. I’ve hiked a lot of the East Coast and New England area. I like to take my tent into the woods and not come out for long periods of time.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I am really passionate about health in general. Eating healthy and doing all the things to be the healthiest person I can be.

Most memorable moment at Mary? When the outcome was in question at regionals, we went into this calm state of wondering what happened. Then coach Yearby told us we won. Kaycie was somewhere else so we went to find her and tell her the good news, and she broke down crying. That was a special moment as we all came together and hugged.

If there is something you could change in the world what would it be? Not everyone follows their dreams. Sometimes people only follow the social norms and follow the path that is easiest for them. People should embrace challenging times and do whatever they want to do, no matter what it is.

Is there something you’d like fans to know about this team that would otherwise go unnoticed? We are so close. I can’t go home for Thanksgiving because it’s so far. My teammates were arguing over whose house I should go to for Thanksgiving. We are really a family. We talk about everything. We get a text from coach, talk about it as a group and make a decision and text him back. We’re the closest group of people I have ever known.

Bre Erickson, sophomore, Cambridge, MN

 Why did you choose the University of Mary? Because of cross country and the track and field teams. I wanted something that would give me a challenge. It’s a private school and it also fulfilled my academic needs.

What do you like best about Mary? I love the team and family atmosphere.

What is your major and career goals? Mathematics, and I would like to be an analyst for a company or small business. Or anything that involves problem-solving skills.

Describe yourself? I’m a person who really enjoys the challenge. I chose a math degree because it’s very challenging. I chose to come run here because it was very challenging. Knowing that there is something out there that I can go get.

What do you like doing in your spare time? Obviously running. Laugh. I like hanging out with my friends. I love going to see my family when I can, and going to see my animals. I have cats, dogs and horses.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I only ran cross country in high school for three years and I really never liked it. Now that I have so many people around me who are supportive of me and doing the same thing as me, I’ve really come to love it. I didn’t like it because it was so far to run. I’m a mid distance girl in track. Going from an 800 to a 6k is a little bit of a change for me.

Most memorable moment at Mary? Being part of this team that’s been conference champions and region champions. I am very grateful for that opportunity to be part of something as great as this.

If there is something you could change in the world what would it be? That everyone gets the opportunity that I have in the sense that they are able to have a family that supports them, friends that supports them, have mentors that love them and support them as well.

Is there something you’d like fans to know about this team that would otherwise go unnoticed? Each and every one of these girls on this team, not just this seven running for a title, plays a big role in what goes on here, whether it’s to help to run, to support each other, or be a friend to someone.

Kate Fox, sophomore, Wing, ND

Why did you choose the University of Mary?

I liked that it was local. I grew up coming here for different things like basketball camps. I was really familiar with the area. I like that I had been around Bismarck my whole life. It was a no brainer – I am going to Mary.

What do you like best about Mary? I like the size of Mary. I like that I know all my professors. I can walk around campus in 10 minutes and know where everything is. I like that it is off by itself where other universities are in town or in the city. I like how approachable every aspect of the school is.

What do you like best about Mary? There are so many great things. Our team cohesion is so good. Everyone always brings another aspect to the table. I like that we have multiple coaches. There’s always someone there for you. We run with each other everyday and it makes us bond more. It’s not hard being around these people. Everyone is so wonderful. They pick you up if you are down.

What is your major and career goals? Math education. I will be a high school math teacher.

Describe yourself? That’s a hard question. I am outgoing and easy to talk to and friendly.

What do you like doing in your spare time? Running takes up a lot of my time and I enjoy it. I like to relax, read a book and watch Netflix. I live on a farm so I like spending time out there and play piano.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I was not always a runner. I used to play volleyball, and basketball. I didn’t start running until my freshman year in high school. Before that running was a hobby. I did a dual sport as a freshman year and did well. Then I put more time into it and thought this could be a part of my life.

Most memorable moment at Mary? Back to back conference and region championships.

If there is something you could change in the world what would it be? I wish people could teleport to destinations because I don’t like how long it takes to get from place to place. I would like to get to where I need to go in a second.

Is there something you’d like fans to know about this team that would otherwise go unnoticed? Everyone on this team works hard and they should know how much this weekend means to us. Our fans’ continued support is so awesome and it’s not going unnoticed. We are ready for this and we work really hard every day for it.

Jaiden Schuette, junior, Bismarck, ND

Why did you choose the University of Mary? I am going into nursing, and so I have always heard of the nursing program here at Mary being prestigious. I heard of the running program and all the great runners who have come through the program like Jenny and Mel Agnew, Dakota and others. I heard Coach Newell was a great coach and I wanted to be part of that.

What do you like best about Mary? I like the smaller aspect of the school and the teachers know you on a first name basis. When I am gone for cross country they say, good luck, I know you’ll do great, let me know how it goes. They have an interest in our activities and what we are doing. That’s really cool.

What do you like best about the team? It’s great knowing other athletes are going through what you’re going through. We talk about our workouts together.

What is your major and career goals? To be a nurse in a Veterans Affairs clinic. My second option would be to work in the mom-baby delivery unit as a nurse. Helping people in the healthcare field runs deep in my family.

Describe yourself? I am very caring and compassionate and very hard working when it comes to nursing and running. I put a lot of time into that because I know that’s going to be my life. I am very responsible and smart – I hope. And I am very driven.

What do you like doing in your spare time? I enjoy hanging out with friends and family. I think that is extremely important.

What would people be surprised to know about you? My favorite dog breed is a basset hound.

Most memorable moment at Mary? It was very special winning back to back conference and regional titles.

If there is something you could change in the world what would it be? When some military go over seas and they come back homeless. They serve our country and they should all have a place to come back to instead of being homeless. And they should know they will have a safe and secure place to go. That shouldn’t ever be an issue.

Is there something you’d like fans to know about this team that would otherwise go unnoticed? We put a lot of dedication and hard work into our sport. We want this so bad for our school and fans in North Dakota. With confidence, we think we can place in the top four this weekend.

Kaycie Stewart, senior, Carvallis, MT

Why did you choose the University of Mary? It had everything I wanted. I’m a nursing student so we have an excellent nursing program that will get me prepared for my career, of course our renowned cross country and track and field program and new facilities—it gave me all the opportunities to be everything I wanted to be and compete at the D2 level, compete at nationals and have all the experiences that come with it.

What do you like best about Mary? The family aspect. Professors know my name, I know everyone on campus, you walk by and you see smiling faces. It’s just a great atmosphere to be part of.

What do you like best about the team? Family atmosphere and the support we give each other. When someone has a bad day someone is always there to pick us up, or someone is there to pick up the slack. The support and care we have for each other, and wanting to do our best for each other.

What is your major and career goals? Nursing. I want to be in the critical care unit as a nurse or ICU — then go on to be a nurse anesthetist or nurse practitioner. I’ll need more schooling after this.

Describe yourself? Outgoing. I strive to do my best in whatever I do. I try to help others when I can.

What do you like doing in your spare time? I love the outdoors and hunting, fishing, traveling, camping, and being outside enjoying the world.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I like to slow things down. Even though I love running fast, my favorite thing to do is slow down life, go on a nice walk, read a good book, enjoy a cup of coffee with a group of friends, take time to reflect on everything.

Most memorable moment at Mary? There are so many. When we learned that we had won regionals I was overwhelmed with happiness for the team. That is an amazing experience to be part of.

If there is something you could change in the world what would it be? Put less emphasis on social media and individualism in society. I think it’s taken away from the big picture of what we do for each other. It should be less about the individual and what people look like and be more about helping others and making a bigger difference in the world.

Is there something you’d like fans to know about this team that would otherwise go unnoticed? Individual success is important but it’s more about the team goals.

Sydney Wendt, freshman, Gillette, WY

Why did you choose the University of Mary? Mainly for the running program and Coach Newell, but it also has good academics: (Mary’s prestigious medical field). I wanted to go to a small campus where you’re not in a huge lecture hall and you get more personal one-on-one attention. I was leery of living in North Dakota, but I really like Bismarck and all the people here are super kind.

What do you like best about Mary? I love this team. You know everyone on campus. There’s always a familiar face no matter where you’re at on campus. Some of the views are incredible. Sometimes I walk to class and look around (at the views). It’s really neat up hear. I feel that it is really secluded from the city so you can focus on your studies and your running. I just think it’s a great place to be a student athlete.

What do you like best about the team? We all push each other to be better. We have our pace groups during workouts and we encourage each other and that means a lot—rather than racing each other. If one of us has a bad workout, there is always someone cheering them up. We are very helpful to each other. I like the mix of different personalities on the team. It makes practice different and fun.

What is your major and career goals? Biology. I want to go into the healthcare field somewhere. I am thinking optometry right now.

Describe yourself? I am very determined. Energetic. Very family oriented.

What do you like doing in your spare time? I like to play the piano. It releases stress for me when I am not running. I enjoy traveling a lot in the summer, hiking, geo-caching. I like doing different things throughout Wyoming, and the Black Hills of SD: lots of camping. I’d like to live in my parent’s camper. I don’t like to be at home for a long time.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I eat a lot of Nutella. Laughs. I love Ed Sheeran.

Most memorable moment at Mary? Winning conference. It was such a good day. We had a rough Griak race weeks before. Race day is so hype compared to high school. I am just so proud to run for Mary on meet day. It’s fun.

If there is something you could change in the world what would it be? I wish it didn’t cost so much to travel.

Is there something you’d like fans to know about this team that would otherwise go unnoticed? We run less miles than some schools, but with more intensity.

Lexi Zeis, senior, Bismarck, ND

Why did you choose the University of Mary? The athletic training program is good and has a 100 percent success rate. I wanted to be part of a goal and team oriented, winning program. I loved the drive that the other athletes had who were already here. The upperclassmen pushed each other to do better and were great mentors. The overall atmosphere of the school, coach Newell and coach Thorson, and how the athletes cheered each other at practice.

What do you like best about Mary? My teammates, and I am close to home, the track and facilities are top notch.

What do you like best about the team? The friendships. We’re going to be friends forever, after we’re done. All teams have their ups and downs, but we face them and move on from it.

What is your major and career goals? Go to grad school at Mary and be a graduate assistant for the cross country and track and field teams here at Mary.

Describe yourself? Hard working. Fun. Lovable. Sarcastic. Blond. A good student. A good daughter. A good friend. A coachable athlete.

What do you like doing in your spare time? Sleeping. I like photography and just hanging out with family and my dog, Bentley. He’s coming to nationals.

What would people be surprised to know about you? That I figure skated for 15 years. I love summer, wake boarding, snowboarding, I really love to fish, the outdoors. My mom and dad had two daughters, so we got the tomboy aspect from my dad. I love hiking, camping and campfires.

Most memorable moment at Mary? I don’t have just one. There are too many to name.

If there is something you could change in the world what would it be? I wish some people would look at how they choose a college differently and understand that there are certain little things at the school they don’t see during their visit that are important for their sport and education.

Is there something you’d like fans to know about this team that would otherwise go unnoticed? We’re together all the time. You would normally see one of us with each other. We put in a lot of time running for what we want to accomplish.

 

Marauders fans, students, alumni are invited to cheer on the University of Mary Cross Country Team at a watch party on campus, Saturday, Nov. 18, starting at 10 a.m. in Heskett Hall.