Maggie Schneider competes in National Championship


Courtesy of Oakland University Athletics

Cross country runner Maggie Schneider represented Oakland University at the NCAA National Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

For just the second time in Oakland history, a cross country runner was chosen to represent the Golden Grizzlies in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) National Championships. 

Nationals were held in Terre Haute Indiana, 390 miles from Oakland’s campus. Both Schneider and her head coach, Paul Rice, made the trip to Terre Haute on Saturday, Nov. 23.

“Coach has been a huge support throughout my running career here at Oakland,” Schneider said. “He has a special way of guiding us so that we can learn to make our own decisions and continue to grow on our own… over the years, I’ve learned to trust him more and more and he’s never failed me. I love that guy.”

Schneider competed in the 6K run, which she placed 20th in at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional competition. This go around, she ran a 21:19.6 time, which was 113th.

After qualifying for Nationals, Schneider was selected as one of four women in the Great Lakes region to compete.

“I felt so incredibly blessed [to be selected],” she said. “As I said before, I wasn’t ready for regionals to be my last race. I had been praying that I would be able to race again, but only if God willed it. He did, so I got to go.” 

After sitting out her first season with a femoral stress fracture, Schneider won three consecutive Horizon League titles, something no Oakland woman has ever done before. 

“The road back has been anything but smooth,” she said. “That initial injury triggered some disordered eating as well as various other physical injuries. However, it made me realize that running isn’t everything. It set my priorities, God, family, school and running straight. It turned out in my favor in the end. I never thought I would be where I am today, as cliché as that sounds.”

Before being selected to compete at Nationals, Schneider was named Horizon League Athlete of the Year for the women’s team. Fellow Golden Grizzly Connor Goetz was named Co-Athlete of the Year with Wright State’s Nathan Dunn for the men’s side. 

She was also a member of the 2019 Horizon League All-Academic Team. 

“In the words of Baymax from Big Hero 6, ‘I’m satisfied with my care.’” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year. I’m proud of my accomplishments, only because of them I’ve been given the opportunity to represent my faith through my sport.”

For Schneider, the accomplishments aren’t everything. What has been more meaningful for her has been the friendships and bonds she has built along the way.

“What I’ve accomplished wasn’t really my favorite part,” she said. “I loved rooming with some of my best friends that are my teammates. I loved early morning weights, seeing all my ladies with groggy eyes and messy hair. I loved the hard workouts where we pushed it together as a team, everyone literally on the ground after the last interval because we gave it all we had.”