The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Student is athlete and coach

When a typical student heads off to college the last thing they want to do is run back to high school. SMU Senior Krystal Rodriguez does just that. She is a track and cross-country coach for the Episcopal School of Dallas.

On a hot and humid Sunday evening, Rodriguez shows up ten minutes early to Norbuck Park for a short session of running the hills with her students. As the Range Rovers and Lexus’s speed into the parking lot, Rodriguez is Nike-clad and ready to run.

“Coach, guess what I did today? I sent in my application to SMU,” yells one boy as he stretches with the rest of the team. He is just one of the many high school seniors preparing for his collegiate career, but running will not be a part of it.

Being here with them and then running for SMU is like night and day, said Rodriguez. SMU is all about dedication and here it is just a trend.

“It’s kind of hard training them because I just don’t see that desire or dedication to be good all the time. I’m used to being around girls who actually want to be number one,” she said.

Rodriguez certainly can talk about dedication. After suffering from an allergy attack, Rodriguez went out for a run only to pass out moments later. At precisely 39 seconds into her routine, Rodriguez stopped to chat with her coach who happened to be walking by. Out of nowhere, Rodriguez blacked out and woke up in her coach’s arms.

“It was scary, that’s never happened before.”

Though it is clear that Rodriguez has what it takes to make it on the track, she makes sure that everyone knows the reality of running in college. ESD Senior Matthew O’Sullivan is one of the boy captains on the team and has taken value from Rodriguez’s advice.

“Krystal gives us an honest view of what college running is like and 120 miles a week… I think I’d rather just concentrate on academics,” O’Sullivan said.

It’s not like Rodriguez has extremely high expectations for her ESD team, she just thinks that athletes going into college should be prepared to treat their sport like a job. She stresses the dedication that a college athlete has to have and has told them that they do not have what it takes to make it at SMU.

“You have to have the drive and motivation, and they don’t,” Rodriguez said.

It’s at this point in the practice that some of the team decides to break. One girl heads to her car and goes home to study for a test. Others chug water and then continue to chat and run up and down the hill. This is the type of dedication Rodriguez is talking about.

“Come on you guys, push it.” She directs inspirational comments like this to the stragglers who often fall behind the rest.

ESD Junior and girl captain, Allison Kramer especially knows the value of having Rodriguez as a running mate. During one pre-season workout, Kramer was feeling the stress of being out of shape and far behind the rest of her team. Rodriguez began to run with her and coached her through to the finish line.

“It really helped me to pick up the pace,” said Kramer.

As a mid-distance runner, Rodriquez hates training for cross-country, but she does it without complaining because that’s simply what has to be done.

“You see her finishing with the boys and you’re just like oh my gosh I want to be able to do that, but you can’t. She can help you get there,” said Kramer.

Head coach and ESD Spanish teacher Ramond Maldonado appreciates the dedication that Rodriguez puts into the sport as well.

“She’s so positive about everything and [she has] this great ability to run hard and get the kids motivated,” said Maldonado. “They just really look up to her.”

Maldonado’s age difference with the rest of the team becomes more apparent when the twenty-one year old Rodriguez is around. Most students feel it is harder to connect with some of the advice given by Maldonado, but with Rodriguez, “she’s young and really gives you advice you can connect with,” said O’Sullivan.

It’s a great feeling to have kids look up to you like that, said Rodriguez.

After a ‘cool down’ run through the woods, the last remaining runners towel off sweat and guzzle down water. Some are still breathing hard; others look like they could keep on running.

They say goodbye to Rodriguez and drive away- back into the reality of high school.

For whatever reason they are on the team, Rodriguez respects her students and appreciates their hard work.

“If you aren’t feeling pain, you aren’t running hard enough,” said Rodriguez. “If you think you’re in pain, but aren’t breathing hard than you definitely aren’t pushing it hard enough.”

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