Senior Distance Runner Balances Life In The Classroom, Track

For most people, running is a chore comparable with hell itself. But when you’ve been doing it for 10 years, it becomes so much more than putting one foot in front of the other.

Senior Sophie Clauss spent six years running cross-country and track for Memphis’ Arlington High School before packing up and moving two hours away to UCA.

“I chose UCA because it wasn’t too far from home, but not too close,” Clauss said. “I liked the program and my mother is an alumni so I thought I’d carry on the UCA graduate tradition.”

Once moving to Conway, though, Clauss had to face the challenges of becoming a collegiate athlete.

“My biggest accomplishment would probably be graduating this April, but also just being a college athlete,” Clauss said. “Running cross country and track while being a student is so difficult and a lot to carry but so worth it. I feel super accomplished for being an athlete and graduating in four years with my degree in Interior Design.”

In order to complete her degree and run for UCA, Clauss had to prioritize her time carefully.

“Cross country has made me a very organized person,” Clauss said. “I have to be the best with time management to handle school, practice and traveling to meets. It gets to be very stressful sometimes…or most times.”

In order to succeed with a strict time schedule, Clauss had to become dedicated and thrive for what she wanted to achieve.

“Being a college athlete made me so dedicated to what I love,” Clauss said. “I love running so I work hard.”

In order to maintain her hectic schedule, Clauss lives by her planner, which she always keeps with her. Her boyfriend Taran Meyer spoke highly of the way she plans her day.

“She is oddly good at keeping her planner,” Meyer said. “Whether shes knows it or not she’s taught me a lot about staying organized and taking pride in the work that you do. She never quits on something and she strives to make everything she does perfect.”

Luckily, Clauss finds inspiration in her love for running and supportive atmosphere.

“I get a lot of motivation from my teammates,” Clauss said. “I also have the most supportive and amazing family that comes to watch me compete anywhere the team goes.”

Clauss’ favorite sport to participate in is cross-country, however, she has always loved being outdoors and living a healthy lifestyle.

Despite the hard work, it has changed Clauss forever, and left her with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“We have so much fun and I love my teammates so much,” Clauss said. “Running track and cross country has definitely made me the person I am today. I’ve learned to overcome challenges, injuries and workouts I never thought I’d get through. It’s made me a very tough person and I love running here at UCA.”

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 3, 2016 print edition of The Echo. 

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