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AU’s Cross-Country Star Shares Passion for Running

By Katie Kather

Schmitt at the Spartan XC Classic (Al Benson photo)


Drew Schmitt, Junior, was the Northern Athletics Men’s Cross-Country Student-Athlete of the Week three times this fall.  The award typically goes to the athlete with the best time, but sometimes other aspects, such as breaking a personal record, play into the decision. Schmitt averages 25:55 in 8k events.

Question:  How did you get into cross-country?  When did you start running?

Answer:  Freshman year of high school, 2005.  My parents required a sport in high school and I figured I might as well do this for fun.  I really liked it.  I stuck with it and got faster every year.


Q: What are you studying at Aurora University?  What are your career aspirations?

A:  Biology.  I would want to work in a state park or forest preserve, something with sustainable ecosystems.  Then I could be outside and train while working.


Q: What role will running play in your life after you graduate?

A: Depending on how fast I run I want to find a team, club or sponsorship through somebody.  Running is my life.  If I don’t run I’ll get depressed and my grades will drop.  I’ll probably have to get a career, but if I can I want to run.  I would like to go to grad school and be an assistant coach while there.


Q: What is one thing you would tell somebody who is considering running track or cross-country or someone who is already doing it but struggling?

A: I always tell people to have fun because if you’re having fun you will run fast.  Know where you came from because you can look back and see how far you’ve come.  You can always appreciate that.  When it becomes a chore you have to step back.  Those are the biggest things that get overlooked.  You have to relax and see the big picture.


Q: It seems like you do a lot.  How do you balance everything?

A: I get up early and run.  Then I do homework before class and between classes.  Running makes me happy so I’m more efficient in my school work.  It’s better for time management because it forces me to be consistent and settle into a routine.  Once you find balance everything is good.

To see Schmitt’s exact times and to read more about his accomplishments, visit the Northern Athletics Conference website: