The Union University Women’s Cross Country Team achieved a one-point win in the Gulf South Conference Championship last fall. Amy McKelvey, senior education major, remembers crying because she thought they lost and then crying because she realized they had won. The team will keep this memory locked in their minds as they head to Alabama on Saturday for the 2017 Conference Championship.
Having won the conference championship last season, the team came into this season with distinct goals. While each individual set her own goals, the team itself set one goal: unity. While running fast may seem like the obvious goal, the most important thing to these players are their teammates.
“We are not just invested in each other’s running. We are invested in each other’s lives,” Gabbie Stevens, sophomore business major, said.
This bond not only develops these women into stronger individuals but also into stronger runners.
“We suffer together, persevere together, and celebrate together,” McKelvey said.
As a close-knit team that trains hard, these girls set high expectations for themselves—expectations to run well. At this point in the season, they haven’t yet achieved all their objectives, but their hope for Saturday is to do just that.
The team knows this will be a challenge, but they are prepared to work hard and do whatever it takes to win. The team sees an opportunity to prove themselves. Amy McKelvey is especially eager to take on the challenge.
“It is my senior year. My goal for the season is to finish strong, and my goal for this race is to finish strong,” she said. “I know I speak for everyone when I say this: we are ready for a comeback.”
This Saturday is particularly special for McKelvey. Not only is it one of the last races of her senior year, but this is also the course where her running career began. She has competed there since eighth grade and won two state championships there.
“This race is really special for me because, in a way, my running career is coming full circle. Jesse Owens is where I started and where I am finishing,” she said.
The team is very aware of the challenges and expectations that are set before them. Their mindset for this race is one consistent with their perspective on life: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” Hebrews 12:1.
“For me, this verse applies to my running as much as my life. As I suffer in my running, it points me back to what Jesus did on the cross, so I count it all as joy,” McKelvey said.
The Women’s Cross Country team is unique because of their bond with one another based upon their common purpose of running: to glorify God. This team will race Saturday knowing that doing so is a gift. The stakes are high, and these girls are ready for their comeback.