Lopes take pride in diligent training amid limited season
By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
One race. An entire year of hard work.
While Grand Canyon University Running Club’s season came and went with the Phoenix Shamrock 5k being the only opportunity to compete, it was the days, weeks, and months leading up to that March 14 race that really defined the season.
“Training this year was not always ideal, but through all the obstacles, we were really committed,” said Lopes’ senior Ryan McQuillan. “It was cool seeing the determination that was present.”
For most of the summer and fall, the Lopes were faced with the inability to meet up as a team and train together. The team relied on the use of an app to record their training progress and share results with each other. This allowed them to stay connected and continue pushing each other.
“I could still monitor their training through the use of the app,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Kimberly Weeldreyer. “It was a way to bring everyone together. Even though we couldn’t do group runs, we were still a team.”
The technology was a necessary aid, but it was still up to the students to lace up their running shoes each day and work hard. Weeldreyer was thankful that the tag team leadership of the Lopes’ Tyler Gerke and Ryan McQuillan was equipped to motivate the team throughout the season.
“My team leaders did a really good job this year,” said Weeldreyer. “Tyler can be really silly, and Ryan tends to be more serious. Having those two personalities work together really helped keep the team engaged.”
While only five GCU runners competed in the Phoenix Shamrock 5k, they all placed in the top three for their age group, and three of the five grabbed top five overall finishes as well. The rest of the squad opted out of competing but continued to find comfort in their sport during this trying year.
“The kids loved having running as an outlet,” said Weeldreyer. “I want them to see that this is something they can continue to lean on as they move on in their life.”
Interested in joining the GCU Club Running squad? Contact Coach Weeldreyer today!