Sports

Schultz pacing the way for women’s x-country

Sophomore cross-country runner Melanie Schultz is steering the Hurricanes in the right direction. During her career at UM, Schultz has learned that following a lead is a necessary step in becoming a leader.
Schultz began her career by running road races during the summer months in her hometown of Davison, Michigan. A small mistake during one of them turned out to helpful for her training.
“I started doing a 5k and it ended up being a half-marathon,” Schultz said. “We were in the wrong race.”
Now training at 50 to 60 miles per week, Schultz has turned the clock forward, the temperature higher, and the mileage up. She contends that while the South Florida humidity doesn’t affect her running capabilities, the urban environment can be a challenge.
“Up [in Michigan]you can run on the same road for 15 miles,” Schultz said, “but here you have to stop every three minutes and the sidewalks tear your shins up.”
Schultz’s grandfather is credited with her initial interest in the sport, which she observed at a very young age.
“I always wanted to run,” Schultz said. “My grandfather…used to run in a lot of road races, so when I was little I’d go watch that and I just kind of picked it up.”
Schultz has never experienced any lack of encouragement from her family. In fact, they keep her going.
“My mom and grandparents, they’re the best,” Schultz said. “They’re behind everything I do. They think it’s wonderful.”
Schultz’s experience running for Davison High School was a positive one. The family atmosphere of the team helped keep her motivated and satiated through the late autumn cold snaps in Michigan. Her coaches made a point to let their team know that cross country wasn’t just about the clock.
“My coach in high school cared so much about us,” Schultz said. “One coach would make us breakfast, the other would have a spaghetti dinner. My teammates were my best friends.”
Schultz contemplated attending the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where she would have been able to balance running and studying marine science. Ultimately, however, she decided that her career goals were more important. UM’s renowned marine science program, coupled with its location, won her over.
“I’ve always had an interest in it,” Schultz said, adding that she wished she could be closer to the ocean while growing up in the Midwest.
Schultz left her comfortable life in Michigan and tried her hand (and feet) in the Magic City. Running, ironically, fell into her lap after she arrived.
“Coming here I said there’s no way I’ll ever play on any team,” She said.
But soon after Schultz’s arrival, Hurricane shot-putter Megan Cobbs (also a Michigan native) accidentally stumbled upon her talent and urged her to pursue it.
“She happened to ask my mom if I ran because she saw me in the Wellness Center running like crazy on the treadmill,” Schultz said. “She got me in touch with Coach [Amy] Deem.”
It didn’t take long for Schultz to become a division one athlete. She says any and every thought races through her mind while she runs the long-distance races.
“[I think about] everything under the sun. The first mile I’m able to keep myself in control, but once I start getting a little less oxygen, I just think of crazy things,” She said. “I’ve thought up some weird recipes while running. I’ve got plenty of time to think.”
Daydreaming doesn’t appear to hinder Schultz’s performance. She came in first place in both the Sailfish Invitational in late August and the Florida International Invitational earlier this month. She led the ‘Canes to an overall second finish in both races. She completed the FIU Invitational’s 5,000-meter course at Tamiami Park in 18:59.59.
Schultz is preparing for higher levels of competition at the Disney Invitational in Orlando on October 11. She is thankful for every opportunity she gets as a competitor for the Hurricanes.
“I’m just glad I’m here running,” Schultz said.

September 26, 2003

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.