Career services offers new plans, tools to help students succeed

The Dixie State University Career Services team has implemented new resources to help prepare students for their next big step after college.

A new four-year plan and the Career Lab are services that have put in place this fall for all DSU students.  The Career Center is located on the fifth floor of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building.

The first new resource the career center is providing to DSU students is a new four-year plan. Unlike the four-year plan provided on the DSU website that shows students what classes they need to take for their major, this plan implements social and personal goals as well. Each year is broken down into a specific category.

Freshman year is called “Imagine,” which encourages students to get involved on campus, attend school activities and events, and meet other students to begin building their own network.  Sophomore year is “Investigate” where students should participate in volunteer opportunities on campus and within the community and continue to get involved in DSU clubs and organizations. Junior year is the “Interact” year; this is when students should focus on joining a local professional organization, take on leadership roles, and practice stress and time management to maintain a healthy social and school life balance. Senior year is the year to “Implement”; this is when students should join national and state professional organizations, learn about the DSU Alumni Association, mentor other students, and continue their campus involvement.

“We’re a resource, but the work has to come from them,” said Blatter. “The more they put into their resume, the better resume they’re going to have. The same goes for an internship, a job search or career exploration. We try to provide as many resources, but the students will get much more from it if they put in more effort.”

Another new service is the Career Lab which allows students to do drop-in visits Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Holland Centennial Commons building to get help from the student career mentors. The career mentors have been trained to help students with their Handshake profiles, making a basic resume, and help with using Focus2Career which is a career guidance tool that is free to all students. This tool helps students select their major, establish career goals, and provide them with valuable occupational information. If a student feels like they need more help or resources, they can meet with a career coach.

Blatter said that every DSU student automatically has a Handshake account. On-campus and off-campus jobs are posted on this social network, including work-study jobs. Although Handshake is targeted for students, their account remains available to them for five semesters after they graduate.

“If a student wants a job, then Handshake is the best place for them to start,” Blatter said.

In addition to the lab, Career Services is also hosting monthly seminars in the Zion Room in the Holland from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The next seminar will be Oct. 18 and is a “Resume Boot Camp.” The following seminar will be on Nov. 8 and is on “Power Skills to Get You Hired.”

Another resource that has been revamped this fall is the one credit Career Workshop class (SSC 1200) that is all about career exploration. This is a class students could take if they’re confused with their major and strengths and need guidance in finding what career would be right for them. In this class, students take the “Strengthsfinder” assessment which is all about their personality, strengths and what they really bring to the table. Students then take the “Strong Interest Inventory” assessment which is more occupation-based and assesses what occupation is going to work best with their personality and skills. Additionally, students will do job information interviews as well as job shadowing while in this class.

Ali Threet, director of career services, said their goal is not just for students to get a job after they graduate, but for them to get a job that they choose and a career path that they want to be in.

“We feel like the academic and career plan that we put forth helps them accomplish that,” said Threet. “It helps them take the necessary steps, do the exploration, and also network with the right people.”

Threet said all of the universities and colleges in Utah work closely together to share resources, best practices, help each other and discuss concerns on each of their campuses.

“A lot of these initiatives that we are setting forth right now are things that some of the other universities and colleges did have in place, simply because they’ve been universities longer,” said Threet.

The Career Lab, for example, is something some universities in Utah have, but not all of them. DSU is also doing completely new things on their own.

“We were the first one in the state to push Handshake and to get that platform going with our students,” Threet said. “It’s given us access for our students to be in connection with so many different businesses and different companies that they never would have had access to before. Now everyone in the state has moved over to Handshake and we were the first ones to do that. We just want to help students and hopefully see more and more in our office.”

Alexis Langer, sophomore pre-radiology major from Herriman, said: “I met with Ali because I wanted to know more career options for me. They gave me the information I needed and provided backup plans for me. I feel like everyone should use the career center because it shows you the bigger picture.”

Graduate school not for everyone

Students spend two to four years in college, but once they earn their bachelor’s degree that’s it — no more university for them, including students who are even opting to not attend graduate school.

Humanities adviser Chandler Whitlock said there are a few reasons students decide not to pursue graduate school. Whitlock said students must consider whether or not graduate school is going to help them in their career fields, where graduate programs are available and whether they can afford it.

“I think [travel] is just kind of tied in with the financial piece,” Whitlock said. “Are they really just able to really kind of pack up where they are here and move across the country or move to a different state to do that program?

Suppose a student wants to attend New York University’s graduate program at Tisch School of the Arts. According to NYU’s website, that student will pay $2,286 in tuition and fees for a single unit during the summer 2019 semester. A total of twenty units brings the cost to $37,569. The student would also need to think about living on or off campus and the expenses attributed to that.

Another factor is if the degree program requires graduate school as the next step, career coach Rochelle Blatter said. Some of these are medical, law, business, science and a few educational degrees, she said.

“It just depends on what [students’] ultimate goal is,” Blatter said. “Some want to take a break after their bachelor’s and work and get industry experience. Some M.B.A programs like that, they like you to have a couple of years you’ve worked and then come in to your M.B.A. program.”

Don Gilman, a senior Digital Film major from Glide, OR, said he agrees that whether you should go to grad school depends on what you want to do in your career field.

“Being in film… it’s more like a trade school,” Gilman said. “I want to work in my field and getting a master’s is not going to help me work in the field. If I wanted to teach, that would be great.”

Blatter said there are good careers available with a bachelor’s but, there are valid reasons for going to graduate school or at least considering it. If you want to have an executive position in a business setting, be a doctor or lawyer, then a graduate degree is something you will need to have because grad school gets you more specialized and a lot more training, Blatter said.

“With your bachelor’s your first two years is basically your general education, you’re exposed to a lot of different majors, you’re getting a lot of general [education],” Blatter said. “Then your junior [to] senior year, you’re getting a lot more technical, but your grad school takes you beyond that and gets you real specialization.”

While students are earning a college education in varying degree programs, they should consider what can be accomplished in that career and think about how going to grad school can make those goals more obtainable Paul Morris, vice president of administrative affairs said. Getting a master’s degree may be what is needed to further their career Morris said.

“My graduate degree has helped me immensely in my life and my career,” Morris said. “It’s opened doors for me that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened and helped me in my career, so I am a proponent of grad school.”

Suicide prevention walk brings community together

The St. George chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosted its annual Out of the Darkness Walk at Highland Park Saturday.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the national rate of suicide is 15.7 people per 100,000 population. Utah’s rate is 24.5 per 100,000. The goal of the Out of the Darkness Walk was to raise money and increase awareness of this issue.

Alex Boyé, a singer who filmed his “A Million Dreams” music video at Dixie State this past spring, attended the event to honor Triston Myers, a 17-year-old Pineview High School student who had committed suicide on Sept. 23, as well as to perform some of his songs both before and after the walk. Other attendees included DSU’s Hope Squad, members of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and local radio host Mikey Jon Foley from B-92.1’s Mikey and the Mrs.

During the opening ceremony, Foley said: “Everybody has their own story, everybody has their own reasons to be here. I’m here for my brother-in-law Douglas and also for my friend Ed and many other people in my life who have made this terrible decision.”

The walk itself took place along the nearby Crown King Trail, but performances by Boyé and DSU’s Raging Red, as well as a silent auction with items such as gift baskets and gift cards, took place at the park.

Beads of different colors were also given out to represent each individual’s reason for attending. Some of the colors included blue for supporting the cause, white for the loss of a child, green for struggling personally, and teal for being the friend or family member of someone who struggles with suicide.

Foley then conducted the bead ceremony, which is when a set of pre-chosen people with at least one set of beads have their story told, either about their own struggles or someone they love’s struggle with suicide. Many of the over 655 attendees shed tears during the ceremony, including Foley himself, but he jokingly passed his tears off as being because of the sun.

There were other, more lighthearted reasons for attending as well.

“It makes me feel like I accomplished something today,” said Julie Handy, a sophomore English major from Dutch John.

Ami Comeford, an English professor and the team captain for CHaSS, said she and former dean Richard Featherstone initiated CHaSS’ participation in the walk last year.

“It’s a sobering but beautiful community of support, love, and care from people of all walks of life and all situations with so many different ties to this tragic issue,” Comeford said. “Additionally, as the college of humanities and social sciences, the primary focus of much of our academic work is very human-centered. We live, breathe, and study the messy complexity that is the human experience in all of its greatness and its tragedy, and one of the reasons we do this is to help all of us find better and more humane and compassionate ways to navigate the human experience.”

College majors are outdated, useless

One of the most stressful things about going to college is choosing your major – choosing which classes will dominate your schedule and supposedly dictate your future.

If you’re like me, you still haven’t decided on this vital, life-altering decision. You don’t see yourself fitting into one box, one title, one major.

I have changed my mind on majoring in English, to history, to English, to journalism, and back to history again in just two years going to Dixie State University. I have involved myself in clubs and projects in all three of these fields. I simply cannot decide.

And I don’t see this as a bad thing.

In fact, I don’t think I should have to decide. College majors are a product of an outdated system that no longer applies in the modern workforce.

Christine Ortiz, former dean from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, agreed in a New York Times article. 

“Majors are artificial and restrictive,” Ortiz said. “[They] result from the academic structure of the university, tied to the classic academic disciplines. There is no reason [students] need to be boxed up like that.”

Besides being restrictive, college majors are also extremely outdated. The world is changing fast and the higher education system changes slowly, the New York Times stated. This leaves a major lag between what you learn and what you do. In the ever-changing work environment, this is unacceptable.

According to a Washington Post article, “just 27 percent of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major.”

Therefore, what is really important at college is the professional experience you gain and the interpersonal communication skills that are learned.

That is why some colleges have initiated a program that allows students to create their own major. Even DSU offers a bachelor of individualized studies which allows students flexibility with their major.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, creating your own major can “spark students’ enthusiasm for learning and sometimes equip them for complicated, cross-disciplinary jobs or emerging career fields.”

Students who choose this path must relate their major to their hopeful future career. However, according to HerCampus, some rather peculiar self-made majors have popped up around the United States, such as:

  • Bowling Chasing Management (Vincennes University)
  • Winemaking (Cornell University)
  • Professional Nanny (Sullivan University)

So while this may be a step in the right direction, having students create their own major isn’t a common occurrence and it still leaves students like me with no place to truly fit in. Hopefully, in the future, this will be the norm, not the outlier.

Hopefully, students will feel less confined and find their skills more applicable.

If you are a student wanting to create your own major, contact Terri Metcalf-Peterson at [email protected] or 879-4770.

If you are a student that strongly agrees that the college major should be eradicated, send this article to the Utah System of Higher Education at [email protected]

Ditch traditional-classroom lab for hands-on adventure

Taking a lab for a physical science credit doesn’t have to be in the usual classroom setting while listening to a lecture.

The environmental science lab is a chance for students to do hands-on activities in a setting outside of the classroom, such as Catalina Island.

“It’s a four-day, really intensive lab experience essentially, except the lab is in the field,” Professor of Paleontology Jerry Harris said.

There are 10 to 12 activities students get to participate in on the island that have an environmental focus, such as a wildlife spotting hike, snorkeling to identify fish, water experiments while kayaking, and identifying bats based on their calls.

It’s not all science, though; there is literature involved as well. English professors tag along on the trip and do readings with students about authors and scientists who have influenced environmental science.

“It’s a very multidisciplinary activity,” Harris said. “We try to throw in as much science as we can, but we want to give students the other perspectives as well.”

Harris said he encourages students to sign up for this class because it brings on new experiences and can be eye-opening.

“It’s a new experience and new environment that students can’t get around here,” Harris said. “It is a fun trip that just so happens to count as a lab credit.”

Field Experience: Environmental Science is offered in both the fall and spring semesters. However, if students are more interested in learning about surrounding areas, there are options.

Instructor of Geology Janice Hayden takes her geology lab, Applied Geologic Investigation of Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce National Parks and Geology National Parks, students to these nearby landscapes and monuments.

Hayden said she loves seeing how students are applying what was learned on the field trips into their own lives.

Morgan Bennett, senior criminal justice major said, “I drive around St. George now and point out all of the different types of rocks.”

Bennett said this course gave her an opportunity to see some of these national parks for the first time and for a great price.

“I have always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, so I was super stoked,” Bennet said. “Also, I have never been hiking in Zion, so it was really cool to do that. I wouldn’t have been able to do that trip by myself for $300, so it was well worth it.”

Applied Geologic Investigation of Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce National Parks is taught in the fall semester over four to five days.

Geology National Parks travels to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Moab for seven days during spring break.

St. George public transportation needs improvements

Life is busy, especially in college.

You balance classes, clubs, potentially even a job. It’s a constant stream of travelling from school to work, from work to home, and from home to school again. Maybe you have a car, maybe you don’t, but gas is expensive and cars are hard to maintain. So you decide to start taking the bus. It’s cheaper and easy to access.

Except, it’s not that simple. The public transportation system in St. George is extremely hard to use and needs to be improved upon.

In a city like St. George, good public transportation is an absolute must. The city is built so spread out with businesses few and far between, but the Suntran buses don’t reach near a third of the surrounding areas like Bloomington and Washington Fields. This creates an evident problem; residents living in these areas are either stranded or left walking.

This leads into another issue presented by the public transportation system: the time gap between stops.

There are six busses in St George; Across those six busses, there are 95 stops. While it may seem like a lot, it doesn’t work as it should.

There’s a 40-minute gap between each time the bus loops around to the same spot. That leaves a lot of waiting required for the rider, mostly resulting in either being half an hour too early or twenty minutes too late to whatever event you were riding the bus to begin with. Beyond inconvenient for customers, it’s impractical for a city growing as fast as St. George.

This wouldn’t be as much of a complication if there were other, working alternatives to the bus in St. George. Other cities of St. George size (64.87 square miles), while having similar bus times and routes, have viable alternatives to the bus. Take Irvine, California, for example. While only having around 55 routes, there’s also an Amtrak train system and a Metrolink.

In St. George, the bus is the only public transportation St. George residents have. While apps like Uber and Lyft provide cars and transportation to paying customers at rates significantly lower than taxis, there’s only 7 Ubers and eight Lyft vehicles throughout the entirety of Washington County. Besides that, they cost a lot more than public transportation.

Implement a better bus system in St. George. Add more routes extending to further parts of St. George and Washington County, and add more stops to the existing routes. Beyond that, recruiting more drivers and adding more buses to the existing routes would create would increase availability and ease for students looking to ride the bus.

It’s great that St. George has a public transportation system that’s easy to access, but it could be greatly improved upon.

Student Success, Peer Coach programs give freshmen opportunity, aid

For freshmen, college can be overwhelming and finding answers can seem like an impossible feat, but the Dixie State University Student Success Center is home to two resources helping to bridge the gap for students struggling to thrive in a university environment.

Located in the Val A. Browning Learning Resource Center, the Student Success Center houses both the Student Success, or Structured Enrollment, and Peer Coach programs. Jamie Kearra, assistant director of Structured Enrollment, said the Student Success Program is a mandatory first-and-second semester class for potentially at-risk freshmen, or students with index scores of 45 or lower, which are calculated using high school GPA and admissions test scores.

The class helps students who struggled or weren’t involved in high school see the importance of and become motivated in college, she said. Throughout each course, Kearra said not only are students taught basic study skills and time management but they are also visited by representatives from the Health and Counseling Center, Academic Advisement Center, Career Services, Strengthsfinder and the Multicultural and Inclusion Center.

“We really just try to help them navigate college [and] hook them up with resources,” Kearra said.

The courses are broken down into “Study Skills and Student Success” and “Career and Life Skills.” Within those courses, students are connected with one of two student success coaches, full-time staff meant to help ask and answer questions to better help students be proactive, Kearra said.

“We just try to make this a place where they can study or hang out or ask questions,” Kearra said.

She said student success coaches are meant to help students get accustomed to life in college, but they are also there to ask the tough questions.

“There’s an element of being kind and understanding, but also raising the bar,” Kearra said. “[Student success coaches are asking questions] like ‘what do you really want?’ and ‘are you doing what you need to do to get there?’”

Student success coaches are also there to help students avoid the almost-inevitable and frustrating goose chase around campus when trying to find the right person to answer particular questions, she said.

“If someone comes in and they need help with financial aid, we are going to walk them over to financial aid and we are going to learn a little something about financial aid so the next time a student comes in… they can get their question answered here,” Kearra said.

There are currently around 300 students enrolled in the Structured Enrollment Program, and each student success coach has around 150 students, she said. Kearra said the coaches are called on to “put students into action” and help their students find solutions to academic and everyday problems.

For freshmen students who are looking for a little help but don’t fall into the category of being at risk, peer mentors are available to help. Jay Sorensen, assistant director of first year programs, said the main focus of the Peer Coach Program is helping first-year freshmen adjust to life in college.

“Our primary goal is to make sure students have a smooth transition as they integrate into life at DSU,” Sorensen said. “Our secondary goal is to be what we call an early alert initiative… We try to find the problems that our freshmen students have before they become a catastrophe.”

Students of all credit grade levels are welcome, he said, despite their focus on first-year students.

The program was founded on the use of fellow students who become peer coaches, he said. Whereas the student success coaches are full-time employees who only work with freshmen in the Structured Enrollment Program, Sorensen said, peer coaches are student employees whose principle goal is to help freshmen but are willing to help students of any credit grade level.

“We strive to help students simplify the process, and then get maximum results,” Sorensen said.

He said helping students starts with assigning a peer coach who can meet with each student one-on-one. Peer coaches are able to get to know students while offering solutions and helping students work on problems “the same way a mechanic would work on your car,” Sorensen said.

He said students hoping to get involved in the Peer Coach Program as a peer coach should have a minimum GPA of 2.80, but perfection is not preferred.

“I feel like you can’t raise someone up unless you’re standing on higher ground yourself,” Sorensen said. “It’s not about being perfect. I want people who’ve had to struggle to earn the grades that they have.”

Sorensen said he believes struggling students want to see someone who struggled but succeeded because they are able to relate to that experience more than the experience of a 4.00 student.

“You want to work with someone who you feel had to grind to get the grade,” Sorensen said.

Peer Coach Shandon Lewis, a freshman music education major from St. George, said a friend and past peer coach introduced him to the program, but his personal experiences are what allows him to help others.

“It’s much easier for someone to talk more openly to someone that’s a peer that they know is also going through school at the same time,” Lewis said. “For example, my first semester I remember walking off campus thinking ‘I really wish there was a student here I [could] talk to.’”

He said he enjoys helping freshmen on campus find someone to relate and talk to when they have questions.

“The first semester is kind of a crazy time in life,” Lewis said. “We want to make sure that every freshman has access to all [of] the resources [available] and make sure they know they can go to somebody on campus to ask questions [and] to sort things out during this transition.”

One of the biggest mistakes freshmen make is thinking they’re alone in their struggle, Lewis said.

“We come into college and we think ‘I need to know what I’m doing,’” Lewis said. “‘I need to know what’s going on. I need to know exactly what my plan is.’ And [we think] everyone else knows, and so [we’re] behind everybody, but really everybody is here in the same boat and everybody wants to help you.”

Kearra said the best advice she can give to freshmen is to be involved.

“I think the simplest things are going to make you successful,” Kearra said. “Ask questions, show up to class, do your work. If you do those things, the people here will get you where you need to go.”

You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll: Blondie delivers to critics with “Eat to the Beat”

By Stephen B. Armstrong

Blondie emerged in the mid-’70s out of the Lower Manhattan club scene, competing for gigs with the likes of Talking Heads, Television and the Ramones. Early on, critics pasted the “punk” label on the band, in part because Blondie repudiated the excesses of contemporary prog acts like Pink Floyd and Yes, delivering instead fast, rocking songs filled with barbed lyrics about offbeat topics ranging from kung fu and street criminals to groupie poseurs and astral projection.

Blondie, throughout the ’70s and into the ’80s,self-consciously refrained from sticking to a single style or sound. The band’s primary songwriters, Chris Stein and Deborah Harry, made a point of studying the music charts — as David Bowie did — and tried to write songs that would sell,  finding inspiration not only in punk and new wave but also reggae and rap.

The band’s first monster hit came out in 1978, “Heart of Glass,” a dance track featured on the “Parallel Lines” record. Built around driving guitars, programmed synths and a drum machine, the song was equal parts rock ‘n’ roll and disco. Its success was such that Blondie, or, at least, Deborah Harry, the band’s lead singer, became famous.

Harry started appearing in movies during these salad days and showing up on the covers of music magazines. Her look was thrift store chic, with a bleached blonde shag cut and cherry red lipstick. And her voice was everywhere, pulsing through the discotheques, playing on the radio and pounding out of jukeboxes in sub shops and pizza parlors around the world.

In 1979, Blondie released its masterpiece, “Eat to the Beat.” Produced by Australian hit maker Mike Chapman, the album 0ffered listeners a fresh wave of genre-bending material. The opening track, “Dreaming,” for instance, swings along like a 1960s teen romance tune, with Harry sounding as wistful as, say, Leslie Gore or one of the Shangri-Las as she drops lines like “I sit by and watch the river flow / I sit by and watch the traffic go / Imagine something of your very own / Something you can have and hold.”

“Atomic,” in contrast, is a punchy dance single, bedecked with Jimmy Destri’s keyboards, Clem Burke’s wall-to-wall drumming and Frank Infante and Chris Stein’s guitars working around each other like boxers in a ring. Throughout the song, Harry’s voice booms, and when it retreats, Nigel Harrison’s bass presses itself into the foreground (a tactic lifted from disco), thumping like a heart OD-ing on adrenaline.

The noisy influence of punk asserts itself at times, too, especially on numbers like “Living in the Real World,” “Victor” and the title track, on which Harry cries out nonsensically: “I remember / Sitting in the kitchen / Eating peanut butter / Eat to the beat.” On the other hand, “The Hardest Part,” a song about a bank heist, borrows and speeds up the riff guitarist Carlos Alomar delivered on Bowie’s 1975 quasi-funk single, “Fame.”

The influence “Eat to the Beat” itself has had upon modern rock is more than profound. The ska-inflected “Die Young Stay Pretty” served as a creative blueprint for the first few No Doubt albums. And the case can be made that The Killers’ debut, “Hot Fuss,” is really nothing more than an album-length reworking of “Atomic.” Traces of Blondie are detectable in the layered arrangements and ironic lyrics of contemporary dream pop bands like Beach House and Best Coast, too.

“Eat to the Beat” may be a creature of the ’70s, in short, but its beauty and its beats linger on.

Stephen B. Armstrong co-hosts “Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll with Katie ‘n’ Steve” Thursdays at noon on Radio Dixie 91.3.

DSU women’s soccer prepare for first home game

Seven games into the season and the Dixie State University women’s soccer team finally has a home game.

Although the team had a lot of good work ahead of them when first stepping on the field, Head Coach Gerry Lucey said, it has been a good start to the season.

Whitley Johns, a sophomore education  major from Gilbert, Arizona, said, “We have a solid team and good chemistry.”

Having away games this far into the season has been hard for Kamie Hunter, a junior population health  major from Hooper, she said, because away games feel different from playing on her home turf. 

Hunter said, “It’s exciting to be an a field we know and understand.”

Hunter said playing on the home field brings her comfort and makes her feels calm.

“I just love it because I know a lot of my friends will come out and support and it’s fun to play for them because I don’t get to see them a lot,” Johns said.

Johns said she came into the season wanting to be a leader and to make a difference every time she stepped on the field.

“This season is my come back season,” Johns said. “Just trying to get back to how I was playing when I was recruited. I want to be the player the teammates know that when they pass it to me, I will be there and can trust me when the ball is at my feet.” 

Hunter said this season the team is connecting and playing more as a unit. She said her motivation for the home games is getting out of their current rut of losing.

Johns and Hunter said the team is getting their confidence back after their two losses.

Lucey said the team focuses game to game because thinking about a future game won’t help the team if they haven’t practiced for the game coming up.

“Everything is game to game,” Lucey said. “We try not to look past our next opponent. If we commit ourselves 100 percent to the team we can be a good team.”

Lucey said there is a higher level demanded of the players in college soccer verse clubs and teams before college. It’s a process to becoming a better player and play this level of competition, Lucey said.

“It’s a young team but we have a lot to learn and a lot to grow,” Johns said. “We have a really good team to put up a fight for the tournament.”

There will be a soccer rally at 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Innovation South Plaza. The women’s soccer game is Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Trailblazer Stadium.

Cross country athletes go the distance

The Dixie State University cross-country team is testing its limits and setting its sights on the RMAC championship.

Coach Justin Decker said this year they are playing a step up in competition by being in the RMAC. He said practices started in the second week of August to prepare the runners for the meets.

Mia Smith, a junior art major from Page, Arizona, said each meet is around three miles.

These meets are scored differently than tradition sport. Kevin Kirk, a freshman exercise science major from Yerington, Nevada, said each teams total score is the top five runners with the lowest time placement combined and the lowest total score wins.

The season only has time for four to six meets and players have to be careful when their body is recovering, Smith said.

“It’s such a hard task to do that you need a lot of time to recover,” Smith said. “[Time] to retrain and mentally get back into it and race again.”

Mostly the athletes are improving their times to better themselves and then they better the team, Kirk said.

Decker said,their key focuses all season is to train to be the best they can for those races.

“We are always focused on our champing races at the end of the season,” Decker said.

For the champing races, we chose the athletes base on the works they run and the previous meets placement, Decker said.

Smith said: “Cross country is more than running. To me it’s friendships. It’s a good sport to make friends and improve yourself.”

Kirk said he wanted to be a part of the cross-country team at DSU because of the friendships he would make.

“You’re competitive, but at the end of the day you have respect for everyone your running against because you are all going through the same thing and that drew me toward it,” Kirk said.

Decker said the athletes are very motivated and know what it takes to be in this sport and want to win.

“Cross country is a lot of work, we wake up to practice at 6 a.m., six days a week and then a couple [of] times in the evening too and running is not a lot of fun,” Decker said. “It does take a lot of dedication and work to do this sport.”

Both cross-country teams finished in fourth place at the UNLV Invitational last Saturday, in Henderson, Nevada.

The team’s next meet is in Cedar City on Oct. 6, for the annual SUU Color Country Invitational.