Athlete Spotlight: Q&A with Men’s Cross Country Runner Shea Vavra

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Photo courtesy of CSUSM Athletics

Shea’s favorite moment of the season, so far, is winning his home meet.

Jaiden Quiroz, Staff Writer

Shea Vavra is a member of the men’s cross country team here at CSUSM. He is a red-shirt senior and is currently majoring in human development. He has been running cross country since 2012  and was recently awarded student-athlete of the month for September.

How do you feel about getting to play this season after the COVID-19 pandemic?

Well, it feels pretty great to be back with the team. Uh yeah, most of us had to train completely on our own for like a year and a half. And so you know, it’s a lot less fun running 60 miles a week by yourself than it is with a big group of your friends. Yeah it’s also exciting because my running has developed a lot since the 2019 cross country season, so I am excited to reap the benefits of training and see what happens.

What goals do you have for yourself this season, and how do you plan to achieve them?

The first goal is to win conference as a team and individually. I know Josh won conference last season, so it would be nice to like carry on the tradition. Um, and then as a team, Chico has won for I don’t know how many years, but too many years in a row. So, it would be nice to change that. Uh yeah, then regionals.

Obviously, want to qualify for nationals as a team. And then, going into nationals, uh, the course is super hard. So, I feel pretty confident in courses like that, so who knows what can happen. I am not going to count anything out. Just want to stay healthy. Listen to coach. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy.

What is the team environment like, and how has it been finding your way back into your role as a teammate?

The team environment is great. Everyone gets along really well. Um, we do goof around at practice a bit, but we get down to business when we have to. I am the oldest guy on the team along with Kibrom, one of the other red-shirt seniors and  I guess we play the dad role sometimes.

How is your season going?

Season is going great. I don’t want to jinx it, but this is the longest I’ve gone without an injury. So as long as I stay healthy, I think I will be able to accomplish all the goals that I want. And yeah, I won my first cross country race since freshman year of high school, so that was exciting. I would like to keep the winning streak alive. We have Chicago next week and then conference on Oct. 23.

What has been your favorite memory of the season thus far?

I guess it has to be winning my home meet. Just because my grandparents were there and a lot of my family was there. And yeah, I only have one home meet left, so I have to take every opportunity I can to make them proud. And actually, the home meet was um, it would have been my uncle’s birthday and he passed away from cancer like seven years ago I want to say. So I was thinking about him a lot during that race.

How has your role as a student athlete benefitted your time here at CSUSM?

Well, I mean I’ve met like so many lifelong friends through cross country and track, and you know, it makes me feel like I am part of a family since we train together everyday. So, I have that to look forward to. And then yeah, I have friends outside of cross country and track. And yeah, just being a part of a family and running provides like a structure in my life and it gives me a schedule to be on everyday. Giving me a sense of purpose.

The Cougar Chronicle: The independent student news site of California State University, San Marcos