Olympian Advises Athletes to Take Initiative


Kyle Flett, Staff Writer

“It’s all about being ready when it counts,” said Shannon Rowbury, 3-time Olympian and San Francisco native, when she visited with the Campolindo cross country team on October 13.

Rowbury is an American track and field record holder at 1500m, 3200m, and 5000m. Her running career started at Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Francisco.  After winning 2 prep state titles she went on to set school records at Duke University in the 800m, 1500m, 3000m and steeplechase.

Rowbury visited with the cross country team after its afternoon practice. Many athletes asked about the prospect of collegiate athletics and what it takes to move on to the next level in running. “There’s all kinds of schools [to choose from],” said Rowbury.  She encouraged athletes to reach out to those programs that might be a good fit. “Collegiate coaches are so tired at the end of the day, the last thing they want to do is call a recruit.” She believes that collegiate sports are available to all levels of athletes; it’s just a matter of finding the right school and taking the initiative to reach out to the coaches.

This was reassuring for younger athletes who are just beginning to think about their future in competitive running. “I feel like I can do better in longer distances in college, and it seems like a lot of fun,” said sophomore varsity runner Edward Buckley, who attributes much of his social and academic success to being a part of the Cougar running tradition. “[Running] saved me; everyone that I met really changed me,” he explained.

Rowbury discussed her own introduction into the sport and the fortune of having competent coaches, as well as a strong internal drive to succeed.

She also said that being great usually means making sacrifices. “If you really want to be successful, it’s committing yourself to it,” she said. “I had to sacrifice my social life to be the best athlete I could be.”

“I learned about what it takes to be an Olympian,” said senior and cross country captain Navid Boozarpour. “It was interesting to hear her story, how she came from a school in the Bay Area.”

“It was cool for everyone to see someone who had so much success in running,” said junior Hannah Ruane. “I learned how much dedication it takes to excel at this sport.”

One final piece of advice from the Olympian: “Take that initiative, put your best foot forward. You have the opportunity to choose your own path.”