Athlete Spotlight: Runner Jana Stiffler - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Athlete Spotlight: Runner Jana Stiffler

Stiffler

Sophomore Jana Stiffler has been the top LCC runner in most of the team's cross country races this season.  Photo by Kaitlyn Delaney

Kaitlyn Delaney

The Lookout Photo Editor Kaitlyn Delaney recently sat down to chat with cross country runner Jana Stiffler. Stiffler is a sophomore at LCC who graduated from Great Lakes Learning Academy.

When did you begin running cross country?
“I first started cross country when I was in fifth or sixth grade. My brother did it, and I would tag along with my mom and him to practices. I kind of got roped into doing things, and I stuck with it.”

What made you want to run cross country?
“I think it was just the love and a passion for it. I used to play soccer, and then I got involved in cross country and that kind of started to take priority in my life, and stayed as that priority through my life. And it’s now kind of become something that I can’t imagine my life without it. And I think it’s just an inherent love for the sport.”

Who is someone who inspires you, in the sport or out of it?
“I would say my middle school and high school coach. He was there from the second I started; he was the one who kind of reeled me into things. He’s always been such a strong encouragement and he’s always pushed me to be my best. He’s the one who pushed me to do collegiate running. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now had it not been for him, and how he came along side me in my life and just kind of kept pushing me and made me a better runner.”

Is there one piece of advice you’ve been given that sticks with you?
“It’s pretty simple, but I mean in this sport, it makes sense. But the hard work pays off. Especially with this sport, it’s not like riding a bike, in the sense that if you take even a month off, you’re set back so far in your training. It’s definitely a constant, year-round sport. So you don’t really have a choice but to work hard to maintain what you have, and to keep progressing through it.”

Do you have any personal or team goals for the rest of the season?
“So, our team goal is obviously to go to nationals, and to hopefully do well through that. Our team is definitely not quite as big as it was last year, so it definitely poses additional challenges for us. Individually, I just want to do my best, and hopefully come close, if not get a PR (personal record) this season.”

Do you have any moments from running in high school or LCC, or earlier that stand out?
“It was funny. I just had a memory pop up on my phone today, from a high school race. It was at Calvin, so it was always one of the muddiest races we would have. And I remember we were just caked in mud, and so we took it, and we made war paint out of the mud. And when we went to cheer on the boys, it was just such a fun moment of coming together as a team; of not letting the conditions or anything take away from the fun of running or our performance through our running. So that’s just a special moment.”

Do you have any pre-run routines?
“I’m paranoid that if I don’t get a mile in for my warmup, I’m going to do bad, so I always have to have at least a mile for warmup. And then of course we have our pre-race stretches. I always pray with my family. And I have special racing socks. I have my Bombas socks, which are my special socks I use for racing.”

What are your plans after LCC?
“I hope to continue my education and my running career. I am currently looking at transferring to Ferris State University, and hopefully continuing for my last two years of eligibility there.”

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