Cross Country senior earns distinguished conference recognition

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Cross Country senior earns distinguished conference recognition

Senior John Daniels' last season at SEU is ending on an accomplished note.

Senior John Daniels' last season at SEU is ending on an accomplished note.

SEU Athletics Communication

Senior John Daniels' last season at SEU is ending on an accomplished note.

SEU Athletics Communication

SEU Athletics Communication

Senior John Daniels' last season at SEU is ending on an accomplished note.

Adrian Gonzalez, Sports Editor

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Senior member John Daniels of the St. Edward’s University cross country program recently ran away with a Second Team All-Conference selection and led the team at the 2018 Heartland Conference Championship at 14th place.

The recognition is especially rewarding for Daniels, as he was a member of the first-ever recruited class to the cross country program when it began just four years prior.

Despite obstacles and injuries he has faced, Daniels says that earning his first conference award made a positive impact on his collegiate career, as it was a special way to leave his mark.

“It was awesome. It’s been a goal the whole time,” Daniels says. “To put it all together was awesome. … It was a bittersweet ending.”

As far as competing against 80 other runners, Daniels said placing in 14th place was something that made him really proud to represent the university.

“I’m pretty confident with [where I finished]. I know I could’ve done better, but we have one of the fasted conferences in the region and the nation,” Daniels said. “So to place up there, I’m running with some really, really good runners. It’s an awesome feat.”

First-year head coach at SEU, Ryan Ponsonby, said that Daniel’s recent accomplishments are true testaments to how hard he and the rest of the team have been working since his arrival.

“John has been consistent all year. … There’s aspiration for the young guys to look up to a senior who’s accomplished what John has accomplished at St. Edward’s and in the conference,” Ponsonby said. “He’s just a guy that they can easily point to and say, ‘Yup, he’s a senior that does things right and we want to follow in his footsteps.’”

Though he has been coached by Ponsonby for less than a year, Daniels said he has helped him plenty in his senior year and he has helped guide the program in the right direction.

“He’s actually coached several Olympians. Just having that high tier of training knowledge … his racing strategies are very on point. He brings a lot of expertise,” Daniels said. “He’s a great coach. I think he’ll take this program pretty far.”

Though his time on the Hilltop is nearing, Daniels said that being on the program has brought him a great college experience. He also sees nothing but a bright future for the program as they prepare to depart from the Heartland Conference to join the Lone Star Conference at the start of next school year.

“It’s a really family-oriented program. Having 14 brothers everyday to go out and grind with and do life with is really awesome,” Daniels said. “I’m super excited to see the program progress. Even though I’m leaving, we have a bunch of young runners who are going to be really good combined with a great coach.”

The cross country team will be preparing for the NCAA Division II South Regional competition that is slated to take place in Denver, Colo., on Nov. 17.