The three cross-country musketeers
It is common across all sports for an athlete to refer to their team as one big family, and have the mindset to go out everyday and battle, not for his/her self, but to do it for their brothers and/or sisters. In the case of the U of R cross-country team, it is literally one big family. Jeff Strueby is starting his first year on the team, but it won’t be hard for him to get to know his teammates seeing as how he is joining both his older brother, Adam, and older sister, Erin, who are in their fourth and third years, respectively, on the team.
The three Struebys grew up here in Regina playing all kinds of different sports. Erin and Jeff’s favourite was racquetball, which created some competition between them growing up because, as Erin says, “every dang tournament was a competition for first and second between us.”
As they got a little older, the competition faded a bit, but it’s not completely gone, because how could it be with three university athletes living in the same house? But, according to Jeff, they all understand that each of them is at a different level of training and competition, so to be overly competitive with each other would be pointless – on the track, that is, not necessarily in the classroom, though. Adam and Erin, both being in kinesiology, had a lot of the same classes together, which led to some competition for grades, says Erin.
“Sometimes it could get a little heated at the study table.”
Already in this early season, each of the Strueby siblings is working on overcoming some obstacles to reach their personal goals. For Adam, a gopher hole gave him a hairline fracture in his leg that set his training back a few weeks, but that’s not distracting him from his goal.
“Right now, my individual goal is to get back to full training over the coming weeks and, ultimately, I am looking to place top seven at CIS [championships] to qualify for the world university games, held in March.”
This outdoor season had left Erin pretty worn down.
“We just had our first cross-country race here in Regina last weekend where I had stupidly decided to race with a fever,” She says. “That race didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped, but I am very confident that I am in good shape physically for this upcoming season.”
Going into her third season, Erin is looking to take the next step this year, and be able to compete with the “big girls” in every race.
“One of my main goals this season is to be faster. Currently being mid-pack on the cross team right now, I want to make our fastest runner, fifth-year Avery Westberg, afraid of me being able to ride her tail in a race.”
Just like older brother Adam, Jeff had an injury set him back already this year, which isn’t ideal for the first-year runner.
“So far, the season has not been going as great as I’d like. Before the first race, I got an IT band related issue, and that has put me a bit back, but I am still doing what I can to keep up with training.”
In his first season, and overcoming an injury, Jeff isn’t setting outlandish goals for himself. Instead his main goal this season is to keep up with one of his fellow first year runners.
“For me, my main goal, would probably be to stay up with Matthew Johnson Jr. I mean, that’s been a goal for a while now but I’d really like to make it happen within the season.”
Whatever obstacles this season may throw at the Struebys, there’s no doubt that with all three of them on the team at once, they have a support group like never before, even if it can get hectic at times.
“Sometimes it can be a little frustrating or overwhelming because we are literally involved in each other’s lives in every single aspect,” says Erin, “but I find that doing this difficult sport together is what brings us so close.” As close as they are, like Erin said, things are bound to get a little frustrating for them but, according to Adam, that’s where the parents save the day.
“We might have to put in the countless hours of work but they are the real MVPs, always there for us whether it’s with meals, or a joke and a smile, or a kick in the ass when we need it.”
For the rest of their CIS careers and wherever their life takes them after that, the bond that these three are building as siblings and teammates will always be there. In the words of Erin Strueby, “Strueb squad for life.”