BISMARCK, N.D. - Cross country running is not for everyone; it takes a lot of endurance and mental toughness. The University of Mary has made its mark nationally, and the Marauders always seen to have a senior leading the way. This year, it’s Bismarck native Jaiden Schuette.
Her passion for running grew as the years went on. It was a way to unwind and reflect on the days past, and days ahead.
"I think it's a good stress reliever,” said Schuette.
Schuette lives a busy life, and spending some time running is a good way for her to get away from it all.
"I'm in nursing school, so that's tough with running. But I mean, I get to come here and not think about school for three hours of my day, and just focus on training, and I think that's awesome," said Schuette.
For the past three years, Jaiden has ran in the shadow of Lexi Zeis. With Zeis gone, Schuette has moved into that number one runner role, but takes with her the lessons she learned along the way.
"I mean, Lexi was like a really good role model for me, I still look up to her. I mean, I text her about workouts and advice about things. So I think I mainly just looked up to her for the past three years, and so I just have to thank her for what she gave this program because I can kind of build off what she did, and I hope that's good enough for the team," said Schuette.
Dennis Newell, head cross country coach at the University of Mary said, "Yeah, when you have great athletes, they're going to get some of the spotlight, and sometimes that number two or number three can get overshadowed. Sometimes the team can get overshadowed. I'm excited for Jaiden, she's a great human being. I think she deserves it."
And she's proven to do just that. Schuette has been NSIC All-Conference and All-Region every year, and earned All-American at last year's National Championships.
"She's a good representation of what this program is working for,” said Kate Fox, junior at U-Mary. “I definitely think Jaiden is doing a great job of filling our number one spot. She is absolutely an awesome role model for the team, she is the lone senior. We have a couple transfers who are good students, but Jaiden is our lone senior, and she really is an awesome person."
"You know I hope I'm setting a good example for the younger girls,” said Schuette, “and I just try my best every day, and if it's number one on the team or if it's number five on the team, I'm like, so be it, and I just try my best every day, and that's all I can do."
Schuette continues to balance everything in her busy schedule, with plans on working with mom-baby delivery, or as a NICU nurse.
Schuette and the Marauders will be in Minnesota this weekend for one of the biggest regular season meets of the year, the Roy Griak Invitational.