Senior Juni Schirch (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) took on her final year of collegiate running with the same mentality as every previous year: to continue to compete at a high level.
Juni, while juggling an intense academic schedule with her nursing degree, was able to take 85th out of 213 women at the cross country regionals while finishing with a solid time of 25:10.24.
Impressively, Juni maintained a steady leadership role on the team while also balancing the necessary requirements to finish out her degree.
“Senior year has been great,” Juni stated. “Not only am I almost done, but I have such a great team that it's made things easier to deal with and (they’ve been) a great support group. This year I've also been running better; the teamwork and the group of three other girls that I run in a pack with have made workouts more enjoyable and made it possible to work to my potential.”
The balance of work in nursing and athletics can be seen as challenging, but Juni is able to maintain a workflow to where she can accomplish all that she needs to in a day.
“I've made it a point to make sure I always get down time and separate the two, because the balance of having both nursing and athletics makes it easier to get a breather from the other,” Juni explained.
She gives credit to her busy schedule as part of what is making her manage time better.
“I've found that being busier actually does make me better at managing my time, and even though I'm busy, I still find time to relax,” Juni said. “And if there is no time to relax, well, it does me no good to stress either, so I don't. I know my stuff will get done if I just sit down and knock it out.”
In her final season of collegiate running, Juni was happy with her performances.
“I'm proud of my performances this year compared to the others,” she said, “and although I didn't get the time I wanted at Regionals, I was proud to have been able to run with my pack and gave it all I had.”
While Juni is finishing up her time at Eastern Mennonite as both a student and an athlete, she puts into perspective the ways being a student-athlete will help her later on in life.
“Besides just teaching me a little more discipline and hard work and mental strength and will, it has helped me grow in other ways, too. I feel like I've learned to trust myself and be confident about being a leader,” Juni added.
She understands the similarities between the two roles in terms of work ethic and will use the lessons she learned at EMU into her future endeavors.
“I feel they both have gone hand in hand on teaching me to be confident about the things I do and say for others,” Juni stated. “Without athletics, and especially my team, I don't think I would've had the motivation, passion, or easy-going attitude I have had. It's made college more exciting, and much more memorable.”
--- by Jake Brown, Sports Information Intern