Wed, Apr. 11, 2012 - [Men's Cross Country]
Over the course of Division III Week, we will look at specific examples of how these three tenets of the NCAA's largest division are alive and well on the Loras College campus with our student-athletes. Today, we take a closer look at the career of Dan McDermott and how he has developed over the last four years.
For a cross country and track and field team member, there really is no offseason during the academic year. For the student body president at a college of 1,550 students, there is rarely a trip across campus that doesn't result in a conversation about something of concern to someone. Put those two people together, and you have Dan McDermott.
"In high school, I would take months off at a time and go out and prepare for the seasons about a month before the (true competitive season) started," McDermott recalled.
"In my time at Loras, I've developed more of a passion for running after working with Coach Schultz."
"Coach always says that ‘everyone is out there running, but not everyone may be doing these other things right'."
"With (Coach Schultz's) guidance, I have also grown to better understand the importance of eating right, sleeping more, and being in the weight room."
Now, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native runs 49 weeks each year and routinely runs in excess of ten miles per day, logging nearly 100 miles per week – a commitment he made as a result of the "environment that allows us to push each other".
"In high school, the running tends to be more recreational," McDermott said. "At the college level everyone wants to be here and wants to be successful."
An Academic All-American who carries a 3.6 GPA, McDermott's development as a runner at Loras College has paid major dividends.
This fall, McDermott was the first person to the finish line in a Duhawks uniform in every race he participated in. He led the Duhawks to their fourth Iowa Conference championship in program history and first since 1997. The team placed fourth at the NCAA Division III Central Region Championships and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championships a week later. That appearance was just the second in program history, and led to a 25thplace finish.
Dan is also the captain of the team and is one of 15 members of the college's first Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders program, where he has developed as a leader.
"Life skills like attention to detail, work ethic, team building, and relationship building have all been a part of my time here," McDermott noted.
"I've learned how to build a rapport with others on campus. Within the team setting, I worked hard to reach out to others to learn about their strengths and weaknesses so we can reach those (team) goals."
Dan is set to graduate this May as a double major in Finance and Management.
"I always knew I wanted the finance portion of the business major," McDermott declared. "With the core classes in the business major touching on a bit of everything I was able to get my feet wet in the other disciplines and then focused more attention on management to go with the finance."
"That value coach puts on academics is clear," McDermott proclaimed. "He reminds us all the time that we aren't athlete-students."
McDermott reflected on some of the things that stuck out to him over his career with the Duhawks leading up to Division III Week.
"Loras has offered me so many different opportunities. I've studied in Italy. I've been an orientation leader. I've interned at a Fortune 500 company."
"I've really developed the leadership skills as part of the Breitbach program," McDermott says. "Everyone in the group has high ambitions and we always try and think reflectively about any challenge that comes up. It is a unique opportunity in the Catholic setting."
"I continue to be impressed with how much pride our alums have and the number of networking opportunities available."
McDermott will continue to run every day after he graduates, but won't do so with the same mileage.
"It de-stresses me and obviously keeps me healthy. I have some 5Ks in my future, but no marathons," he predicts. "I'd like to try a triathlon."