Abigail Berends, affectionately known as Abby, is recognized as being one half of the women’s cross country team Berends duo. However, few may know that Berends is actually one third of the Berends’ triplets.
She and her sisters hail from Hudsonville, Michigan. Berends is a special education major and has a love for helping people.
“I really like it when I can help people who are struggling or help a kid to gain a better understanding.”
Berends says she began running in elementary school for fun but developed a love for the sport through the urging of her older sister.
“My sister joined the track team in high school and talked about how much fun it was and that she made new friends. I wanted to make new friends so I joined,” said Berends. “I grew to love the running aspect.”
Berends said the most difficult part about running cross country is in middle of the race.
“In the middle of the race you get tired and still have to be competitive,” said Berends. “You really have to push yourself to work hard anyway.”
Berends is also a member of Union’s symphonic band, playing the trombone. She is a member of the honors community as well. She believes that it is important to be active as a student.
“Get involved in something. It is important to make friends,” Berends said.
While she loves to run, Berends says that running is for God’s glory. “As a Christian that is the most important thing.”
Bailey Bell is a junior economics major, and third generation Unionite. As a member of the men’s cross country team, Bell also says that running is a way of glorifying God.
“I don’t just run for enjoyment,” said Bell. “Running is a gift that God has giving me and it’s my choice in what I do with the gift.”
This is Bell’s third season on the men’s cross-country team and he says he enjoys being a member of the team.
“Running can be a lonely sport,” said Bell. “But I have an unbelievable team and we’re like a family. We enjoy hanging out and going to practice.”
Bell is a native Jacksonian and a graduate of Trinity Christian Academy, where he played several sports including cross country and track. He said that he enjoys running on the university level more because it allows him to concentrate on one sport.
This past summer Bell worked as a congressional intern in DC for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Congressman Stephen Fincher. While he is uncertain about the direction he would like to take after graduation, Bell said that he is contemplating a career in the military or the business world.
As a student athlete and member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, Bell says he would advise other student to, “Really have your priorities straight and make wise choices.”
He uses scripture found in Romans 12:1 as daily inspiration. “When I lack motivation I think about this verse and it keeps me motivated.”