First-year Enzo Marie has been running since he was six. Originally from France, Marie ran for his town’s club cross country team and is now continuing his athletic career at Drake.
“I love running,” Marie said. “I like the competition. [Being] on the start line is a very cool sensation. The adrenaline, that is cool.”
On Sept. 3, Marie placed third at the Hawkeye Invitational, held in Iowa City. While Marie was pleased with the results, he was slightly disappointed that he did not place higher, as he finished only 1.4 seconds behind the winner of the race.
“I’m very, very happy with this result. That was my first race, so to take podium is very nice. My coach was very proud, very happy,” Marie said. “But I finished at just one second from the first place. So I was a little bit disappointed, very a little bit. I [took a] massive sprint at the end of the race, and I finished just two meters behind [first place].”
After his performance at the Hawkeye Invitational, Marie was named the Missouri Valley Conference cross country athlete of the week. Head cross country coach Jay Koloseus said he was impressed by this result.
“I was blown away. I knew Enzo was very talented, very very talented. But it’s one thing to be talented, and it’s another thing to come to the U.S. and perform. And he did that in spades,” Koloseus said. “The only directions I gave him that day was to stay with the top pack as long as he could, and he did that the entire time.”
Marie’s journey to Drake started in the spring of 2020, when Koloseus started recruiting him. Due to COVID-19, the international recruitment process for this season involved the coaches doing a lot of research online and contacting athletes over Zoom calls.
“You have to sell a place that these athletes have never been to or even heard of a lot of the time, and get them to trust a different process,” Koloseus said. “No other country has college athletics like we do in the [United States]. The way we run and train is always a little bit different than where they come from. So, you know, it’s really about selling yourself and the idea of being a great team.”
Marie has noticed differences between the sport in France and in the US. Before college, he trained independently, so running at Drake was his first time experiencing cross country as a team sport.
“In France, the cross country [is] totally different,” Marie said. “Here, the thing that we can do is take your time, the best time possible. In France, we just have to place, and the time really is not important. In France, we run in the mud and with a lot of uphill, downhill. It’s like a trail. So it’s not really the same thing, cross country in France.”
Marie’s next race will be the Gans Creek Classic on Oct. 1. Although the team will be running at the Redbird Invitational on Sept. 17, Marie will be sitting out of this race to rest.
“We have such a deep team on the men’s side that I’m very calculated in when we’re going to run against each other or put them all together,” Koloseus said. “With men, egos get in the way quite a bit. So we’re going to sit out one more week and just train him, but we will race all of our top guys, as long as they’re healthy, in Missouri.”
Marie continues to train for upcoming races and looks forward to improving as the season progresses.
“I take training every day,” Marie said. “I’m very motivated to progress more and more. I go to the weightroom, I train everyday with my group. And I run, hard workouts and temposition. Every day, sometimes twice a day. I go run in the morning sometimes.”
Ultimately, Koloseus says that Marie could be in the running for multiple awards throughout the season, including newcomer of the year awards, all-conference and all-region titles. According to Koloseus, however, Marie will have to continue to adapt to college athletics.
“The hardest obstacle for him to get these awards is really on our team here,” Koloseus said. “Little things too, like learning how to run with a group, befriend your teammates and grow in the family we create around them, and he’s done a great job with that so far.”