Student Spotlight: Alex Maier

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Student Spotlight: Alex Maier

Jillian Rash, Writer

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The leaves crunch under his feet as the sound of labored breathing fills the air. The boy pushes through and continues his run despite the thirst and muscle pains.

Some people dread running, but junior Alex Maier finds peace in it.

“It’s a really good sort of mental release,” Maier said. “I think that’s kind of why I got into it. Whenever I’m going through a hard time or whenever I’m frustrated, I just like going for a run and it’s just a good way to clear the head.”

Maier has accumulated many memories over the course of his running career, but he says his freshman UIL State race was his fondest memory.

“It was super muddy, it was raining [and] it was cold,” Maier said. “We weren’t projected to do very well, and then we ended up getting third. And just seeing the look on everyone’s face, especially the seniors, seeing how happy they were. That was cool.”

Even though he usually runs races solo, Maier’s team has been a big source of encouragement and they help each other on and off the track.

“We push each other during workouts and stuff, [but] especially in races,” Maier said. “It’s a good motivator.”

Although running helps Maier, he explained that it can be challenging to run while hurt.

“Trying to overcome injury [is] always tough,” Maier said. “And running [while] sick, too. That’s been hard.”

Maier considers “getting 5th last year at Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in San Diego, California and Nike Nationals in Oregon a high point” in his career, but it doesn’t stop there.

“I want to improve on my place at Nike and Footlocker from last year,” Maier said.

Beating his fifth place finish in both races will be tough. Cross country training isn’t all just running; it involves more than some would think.

“We have like a workout schedule where we work out Mondays and Wednesdays, usually, and then daily runs on the other days,” Maier said. “And it kind of depends on what [the coach] wants to do or what we did the week before.”

Despite his success and affinity for the sport, Alex Maier wasn’t always a runner. He played baseball through elementary and middle school and began running later on.  

“I wasn’t super good at baseball,” Maier said. “I was always kinda the speedy kid, the speedy leadoff hitter.”

Middle school was a turning point for his athletic career and Maier decided to focus on another sport. Instead of spending his time on baseball, he switched to cross country.

“I started it in middle school I think because it’s just something I wanted to try out,” Maier said. “I think given a choice between [baseball and running], I probably would have chosen running.”

Maier isn’t sure what college he wants to go to yet. While committed to running, school takes top priority for him.

“I want to narrow down what I want to major in before I start thinking about colleges,” Maier said. “I kinda want that to be first, and then running to follow that. I put a lot of effort into both but I think that school, academics, and obviously what I major in in college is going to give me a more stable career.”

Running is important to him now, but it’s unclear whether he will continue professionally after college.
“I have to take it year by year, season by season, see how things go,” Maier said.