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Spotlight Stories: NXR Champions


The Oval Magazine got a chance to speak with two of the 2021 Nike Cross Regionals individual champions from the nine different regional meets that happened. The two runners are NXR Southwest Champion Jefferson McMullin and NXR Heartland Champion Ali Weimer.


Photo Credit: Jefferson McMullin

Jefferson McMullin

Lehi HS, Utah

Oval Mag: What were your goals for this season?

Jefferson McMullin: I wanted to qualify for states and regional meets, I just went in and trusted my training and ended up taking states and ran a good PR for myself. I was sick at our pre-FootLocker meet but I was able to fight through that and win that.

Coming into NXR I had a lot of confidence, I knew I could perform and race well but I also wanted to make sure I was staying humble and hungry. I still have a message to send and nothing is guaranteed.

OM: Why do you run?

JM: I’m a super competitive person naturally. Playing basketball built that up a lot. The drive to have to win motivates me, a lot of times there's no other option, that’s just how my mentality is.

I remember what I’m racing for too, this year I was racing for my school. Throughout my season I kept remembering that I’m racing for my school and representing my city and my coach.

OM: What keeps you focused?

JM: I say, “this is what people aren’t going to see”. When it gets hard, I think about how its for myself. This hard workout is teaching me that I can push through things. A lot of times I’ll put myself in real race scenarios where I have to finish with that closing speed no matter how bad it hurts.

When I’m hurting I’ll tell myself, “I see you pain, I know you're there, just leave me alone,” and throw it away and keep going.

I draw off of what goal I set; in the regular season I set the goal to win state and every workout, every long run, even recovery runs I was focused on doing everything I can to win state.

OM: What got you into the sport?

JM: My freshman year I was getting ready to try out for the basketball team and was out of shape and told myself I'd run 2 miles every day to get in shape for basketball. My mom told me I should just run with the cross country team and pushed me to try it and I wound up doing pretty well and ran varsity for my last few races. But then I was like “I’ll just go back to basketball.”

Sophomore year I did it again and loved it a little bit more, I ended up with the top spot on my team and that was fun and then it was my junior year that really set everything apart. I was able to compete well at states and hit some goals I had set. I went into basketball season that year and it was a grind of a season and I realized that it was rare that I was excited to go to basketball practice, and going into the track season I was excited to go to practice and see all my friends and to be able to run with them. That’s when I realized that running was what makes me happiest.

I’m able to draw off a lot of aspects of basketball, and it makes me really grateful that I get to run.

Favorite workout: The Michigan

Favorite hype-up song: Trumpets by Jason Derulo

Favorite post-run food: Cafe Rio

Future goals: Running at the Olympic Trials


Photo Credit: Minnesota Milesplit

Ali Weimer

St. Michael-Albertville HS

Oval Mag: What were your goals for this season?

Ali Weimer: Obviously my junior year it was not normal whatsoever because of COVID. I knew coming into this season it was not only my senior year but it was also time to not take for granted all the opportunities and races I have like the state meet or regionals. In the previous season I hadn’t qualified for national races so I knew I had to this year.

Going in, we knew that qualifying for national and regional races were the goal all along.

OM: What are you thoughts you bring with you into competition?

AW: I race for my teammates and coaches and my parents. But knowing I wanted to run collegiately next year too I wanted to run to my best abilities. Once I committed to the University of Minnesota I wanted to make the head coach proud too.

OM: Did you always want to run in college?

AW: I knew in about seventh or eighth grade, I always idolized older girls in high school who were winning state meets and I knew that’s what I wanted to do, and if it took me to run collegiately I one hundred percent want to do it.

It was always in the back of my mind but I never thought I’d be in this position. I didn’t realize I was good enough to do it until people started reaching out to me!

OM: What keeps you focused?

AW: When I want to give up I think about how I’m doing this for more than just myself, I’m doing this for my team.

OM: Who inspires you most?

AW: My parents and my coaches do, they have such a positive role in my running. I could be so down on myself and they always find something good to say and they always believe in me even when I haven’t.

OM: Why do you run?

AW: I like the feeling of accomplishment after I cross the finish line or achieving a PR or running a hard workout. It’s always been therapeutic for me, if I’m stressed out I can go for a run and reset and go about the rest of my day.

Favorite workout: 1K repeats

Favorite hype-up song: Anything by Eminem or Drake

Favorite post-run food: Chik-fil-a

Future goals: Top 15 at FootLocker, All American before graduating

A big thank you to our sponsor this edition, Runner Coffee! Visit their site and use code Theoval15 for 15% off

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