At 5-foot-4 with dark curly hair and a genuine smile, First-Year cross country runner Jolee Paden looks anything but menacing. However, the still young 2012 season has already proven her to be something of a terror.
Paden has finished sixth, tenth, and third in EMU’s first three meets this season, helping the women’s team to two wins and one second-place finish.
Though Paden has played a considerable role in these team accomplishments, modesty reigns. “Team achievements are cooler than individual ones because you have someone to share it with,” Paden said.
Paden says one goal the team has for the season is to finish ranked in the Top 5 of the South/Southeast Region. This goal seems well within grasp as the women sit in ninth as of Tuesday’s latest poll release.
Paden has already had significant experience running on teams that have succeeded. Paden’s high school team, St. Joseph-Ogden High School in St. Joseph, IL, finished third in the state during her junior season. Paden finished twenty-fifth overall in that meet.
But Paden started running long before her high school and college successes. She ran track in sixth grade and cross country in high school mostly because her friends were doing it.
“It started as a social thing, and then I realized I was pretty good at it,” said Paden. That’s when things became more serious.
Paden says running is a huge commitment. “It’s a lifestyle, really. Sleep, nutrition, and time management are all important,” Paden said.
Paden is nearly as committed to her favorite shoes as she is to running itself. Paden owns and rotates through three pairs of Brooks Ghost 4 shoes, a popular enough model to make Amazon.com’s Top 50 best-selling women’s running shoes.
Though running has gotten progressively more serious for Paden, the social aspect of the sport is still something she very much enjoys.
“Long runs are great social bonding,” said Paden. “When you have to run for an hour and a half, you have to find something to talk about.”
Paden’s love of socializing and capacity for undertaking new challenges has already made her a sought-after asset for many groups on campus and in the community.
Paden has joined the Royal Ambassadors and is lined up to play the piano at Aletheia Church this coming Sunday. She also hopes to get involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus once her schedule slows down.
Paden is majoring in Recreation Leadership and Sport Promotion, as well as Business Administration. IfPaden is not studying or running, she enjoys taking pictures and listening to her favorite band, NEEDTOBREATHE.
Ryan Eshleman, News Editor