Freshman runner catalyzes St. Edward’s men’s cross-country team


First-year runner for the St. Edward’s University men’s cross-country team, Mauricio “Mauri” Padilla, has proven that he can hold his own. Padilla has been the top distance runner on the team in four consecutive meets.  

At the Heart Conference Championships Oct. 22, Padilla ran 8,000 meters with a personal best of 26:34.9, just 25 seconds off from his All-Conference pace.

The men’s team finished in sixth place, out of nine teams, with an average team time of 27:05.8. 10 of the 15 runners hit personal best records, via SEU Athletics. Padilla placed 27th overall.

Of the top seven runners, five of them were freshmen: Padilla (26:34.9), Jacob Nava (27:03.8), Stone Hamlin (27:12.9), Jonathan Orona (27:50.3) and Chad Schmidt (28:39.2).

Sophomores John Daniels (26:44.8) and Nick Zuniga (27:58.6) were also among the best Hilltopper times.

“Both teams ran well today,” Head Coach David Chandler said to Athletics after the meet. “The men improved from last year, so that was nice to see. I am looking forward to a much-improved performance at the regional meet in Denver.”

The Hilltoppers traveled to Oregon for the Wes Cook/George Fox Invite on Oct 15. The men’s and women’s cross-country teams ran through the rain and 50 degree weather, which Padilla describes as the “perfect running weather.”

Padilla ran a 26:47 and earned his first conference honor as the Male Heartland Conference Runner of the Week Oct. 18.

“I always enjoyed running,” Padilla said.

From middle school, he would go on to continue his participation in cross country at Timber Creek HS. Padilla described his first two years of high school cross country as “average.”

Padilla said that his junior and senior seasons were where he really picked things up. He made All-District both years, and was recruited by Chandler in the fall of his senior year.

The upcoming regional meet is scheduled for Nov. 5, at Washington Park in Colorado hosted by Metropolitan State University of Denver. 

That leaves Padilla and his team roughly two weeks to prepare for the NCAA National Championship. Padilla’s goal is to hit a personal best record of a low-26 minute mark.