Photo: Eduardo Zamarripa
Arguably the women’s cross-country team’s most valuable player, Mariel Fulton is the new kid on the block. As a freshman, Fulton led her team in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championships by placing 29th, in the Bradley Classic by placing 43rd and in the Walt Disney Classic by placing 11th.
Out of Louisville, Colo., Fulton is an international business major here at Drake. In addition to running cross-country, Fulton runs distance for the women’s track and field squad. In her first collegiate track season, she plans to run the 1,500-meter run for indoor and to step up the distance for outdoor season with 5,000-meter races.
The women’s cross-country team boasted only one senior and two juniors on the roster of 15, but Fulton enjoys the youth on the team.
“Its kind of fun being a young team because we get to grow together and experience everything from freshman to senior year,” Fulton said.
With enthusiasm and a constant smile on her face, Fulton shows up to practice with running on her mind and love for her team in her heart.
“I love my teammates; we get along really well,” Fulton said. “My roommate Katie (Gross) is one of my best friends, and she is on the team.”
Head Coach Dan Hostager, a graduate of Northern Iowa, has been coaching the Bulldogs for eight years. During his tenure as head coach, Hostager has coached countless successful runners, and he said that Fulton is next in line.
Fulton said she enjoys running for such a knowledgeable coach.
“He is an interesting character, but he is really awesome,” Fulton said. “He is really relaxed and individualized. He is also good at not pushing us past our limits because he wants us healthy.”
Health is at the top of Fulton’s agenda as well.
“My No. 1 goal is to stay healthy as I improve, but I would like the team to improve a lot because it would be nice to have the team perform well,” Fulton said.
Successful indoor and outdoor track seasons are on the horizon for Fulton. The indoor track season kicks off tomorrow with the Iowa State Holliday Preview in Ames.