Runner wins Athlete of the Year Award
The men’s track team lines up against opposing teams in the Loyola Wolf Pack Invitational. Their first meet of the season will be Feb. 21. JACOB STRINGER/The Maroon
History junior Paul Freese received the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Men's Athlete of the Year Award.
Representatives from other universities nominated athletes from all around Louisiana. Freese was awarded in December because he received the most votes, Andy Canegitta, head cross-country and track coach, said.
"Paul is the leader on the team, he has helped change the culture of the team and move the program into a different level competitively. He leads by example and encourages his teammates," Canegitta said.
Freese said the award was unanticipated because other nominated runners had attained faster times than him.
"I was definitely surprised," Freese said.
Freese said he believes that he has contributed in several ways to the cross-country program throughout his time at Loyola.
"I've been able to help both on and off the field," Freese said.
Freese ran at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national competition and alongside of him were three of his teammates on the women's cross-country team including marketing senior, Annie Hills.
Hills said Freese has played an essential player in positively developing the cross-country team.
"Paul's leadership goes beyond his excellent racing times and Nationals participation. He keeps the men's team together and leads by example so others know what is really expected on Loyola's cross country team," Hills said.
Freese's contributions and the contributions from the entire cross-country team have helped develop the team's future goals.
Canegitta said that he believes next year the team will battle to win conference.
Freese said he has seen the men's cross-country team improve this year, and he sets his hopes high for next year.
"The goal would be to qualify as a team for nationals," Freese said.
Lucy Dieckhaus may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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