Pioneer Focus: Becky Neitzel

 

PEDIGREE: This week’s Pioneer Focus goes to senior cross country and track and field athlete Becky Neitzel for her leadership in the Pioneer running program, as well as for her efforts this season in indoor track.

During her four years as a Pioneer, the senior from Malvern, Ohio has improved immensely as a distance runner. When she came here from Malvern High School, her best time in the 5k was 21:50. As she prepares to graduate this spring, her time has dropped nearly three minutes to 19:14.

Also, her best times in track for the 1500 meter and 800 meter dash are 4:51 and 2:18, respectively.

As for her indoor track season so far, Neitzel has helped the Pioneers in the 800 meter dash by running a time of 2:22.66 on Feb. 4 at the NCAA Division II Challenge.

Get to know the nursing major Becky Neitzel…

Senior runner Becky Neitzel races next to junior cross country teammate Jessica Winkler at Akron's Tommy Evans Invitational at Firestone Metro Park on Sept. 8, 2011. Neitzel eventually raced ahead of Winkler with a time of 20:05 in the 5k race. (Photo courtesy of Andy Smith)

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: Chocolate chip cookies

Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?

A: I’m pretty good at rapping Nicki Minaj.

Q: Why do you love running?

A: I love running because it’s another opportunity during the day to worship the Lord. All glory goes to Him. Also, I love being outside, appreciating whatever weather Ohio decides to throw at us and enjoying laughs and conversations with my teammates.

Q: Biggest Superstition?

A: I have worn the same pair of red socks for every collegiate race. At this point, I can’t not wear them!

Q: Facebook or Twitter?

A: Facebook

Q: Who is your role model and why?

A: My role model has always been my grandmother. Although she is gone now, I always remember the wonderful woman of God that she was.

She was a hard worker, humble, content, a great wife and mother and sought a closer relationship with God in everything that she did.

As for a running role model, I would say my fiancé Nik Schweikert. He has been a great example of a hard worker and showing me what it truly means to run joyfully while praising God.

Q: Best and worst part of college athletics? 

A: The best part of college athletics is being a part of an amazing team. My teammates and coaches are my family. I am so blessed to be a part of such a wonderful group of people.

The worst part? Sometimes it is really hard to balance the busy schedule of being a student athlete. Running 60 miles a week and traveling to races plus keeping up on school work gets tough. However, I’ve learned so much because of it and wouldn’t change it.

Q: Least favorite rule at Malone? 

A: My least favorite rule is not being able to have any other pets or huge fish tanks in the dorms. My roommate is a zoo-bio major and I think we’d have a few exotic animals or a small zoo if we were allowed. That would be fun.

Q: What/who got you to start running and when did you start running?

A: I started running in 7th grade in my sister’s ‘footsteps’ as a sprinter. I ran sprints all the way up to my senior year of high school when I finally did a couple middle distance races. I loved track and only did cross country a couple of years in high school.

I really didn’t do much distance running until I came to Malone. Now I love cross country, run lots of crazy miles and I’m using my sprinting background and newfound endurance as a middle distance runner during track.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A:  In 10 years, I see myself enjoying the life as a wife and hopefully a mother to three or so kids. I also hope to be working as a nurse with old people or babies and taking frequent mission trips to wherever I’m called to.

I will still be running and hopefully sharing my passion by coaching a high school team. However, it’s all up to God, so I look forward to seeing what He has in store for me.

Chris Sherwood is sports editor for The Aviso AVW.

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