Collegiate Runners Racing to Finish First

Published: March 12, 2015 | Author: Alex Homer | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU cross country runner, Nathan JewkesAt the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Nate Jewkes, a member of the Southern Utah University track and field and cross country team, finished 15th and garnered the honor of an All-American in his final cross country race as a collegiate athlete, drawing comparisons to Cam Levins, former SUU track and field star and then turned Olympian.

Jewkes is familiar with Levins as the two raced and trained together as well as lived together in the latter years of Levins’ collegiate career.

“Cam kicked the door open to the next level,” Jewkes remarked. “He made it more in reach to me. It makes it that more doable to see someone you know do what you hope to do.”

Jewkes believes that a large part of his success has come through the SUU program and culture, as well as the location that is unique to Cedar City.

“I think the altitude is definitely beneficial,” he said. “When you race at high altitude it’s nice to be used to those conditions and when you go down to sea-level it is also helpful to see what you can do.”

Head Coach Eric Houle said, “Both Jewkes and Levins came out of the same program where we up the volume, up the intensity, and if they are able to handle that, it is going to determine if they are going to get fast. They’re both All-Americans, they are both very aggressive, very competitive and willing to do anything to become successful.”

Jewkes is on a nine-day training cycle consisting of 16, 18 and 20-mile runs per day, a schedule that is similar for most of the distance runners on the SUU team.

“There is a science behind everything we do,” Houle said. “We really push the envelope of the science and training behind this sport.”

As for what’s in store next for Jewkes, he has already been accepted to graduate school at the University of Missouri and hopes to qualify for the U.S. trials for the 2016 Olympics, but for the near future, he has his sight set on another All-American award for the outdoor track and field season and will inevitably, gain more comparisons to Levins in the process.

“My goal is to get under 29 minutes in the 10k and hopefully an All-American spot at nationals, which would require a top-eight placement in the 10k.”

There has been only one athlete in SUU history to break the 29-minute mark in the 10k, done by the one only Cam Levins, for now. 

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