During his freshman year, Josh Richardson would sign up for races and go to track meets alone. Now, finishing his fifth year at MVNU, he is one of nearly 50 athletes on the track and field roster.
Richardson, Ellis Gallion and Anthony Clark will be the first senior runners to graduate from the track program since MVNU officially restarted it two years ago.
Richardson was a star performer for the cross country team and loves competing in track and field events.
“My sophomore year, Jake Sherer would go to meets with me,” he said. “It was much more invigorating to have a team, even if it was just one other person.”
The track team relaunched with a core group of cross country runners and now carries dozens of athletes in just its second year. With only three seniors leaving, the track team still holds great potential going forward.
Richardson is grateful for both the athletic and the social benefits that came with competing.
“Athletics gave me a social life,” he said. “Coming in and having 20 [cross country] people to relate to right away really helped.”
Richardson clenched many first- place titles during his track career. He holds school records for the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:56.58 and the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:36.33. Richardson took 13th place at the NAIA National Meet in May 2015 with an impressive time of 2:49:21.70.
Richardson received his degree in intercultural studies last year and will receive his master’s of business administration this month.
Senior Ellis Gallion is a physical and health education major from Medora, Indiana. Gallion has a passion for teaching and hopes to coach after graduation.
Gallion, who also runs cross country for the Cougars, holds the MVNU record for the mile run with a time of 4:37.11.
Gallion said it’s been rewarding to watch the MVNU track program grow from a handful of athletes to a core group of upperclassmen and talented recruits in just two years.
“Being a part of the track team has been something special,” Gallion said. “It is not every day that you get to restart a program and be the first team of this era.”
One of the greatest lessons Gallion learned through his athletic career is accepting new challenges.
“Often times you just have to be willing to walk through a door that God opens and not be afraid,” he said. It takes courage to step out and do something challenging, similar to the way running takes courage, he said.
“Running allows you to step away from whatever may be stressing you out and frees you so that the only thing on your mind is striving towards the finish," he added.
Former Cougar baseball center fielder, Anthony Clark wraps up his time at MVNU. Majoring in history, Clark plans to become a high school teacher.
The fifth year senior joined the track team for the first time this year to run sprints for the Cougars.
“I have loved my time with the track team because everyone is genuine and so supportive of one another,” Clark said.
Clark is the current senior class president and a Voice of the Cougars on WNZR.tv. He is also the vocal leader of the Cougar Crazies.