MARQUETTE, Mich.—Each semester of the 2018-19 academic year, Northern Michigan University Athletics will highlight nine different student-athletes or stories for their significance on and off the playing surface. The features are due to be released approximately every two weeks in accordance with the corresponding athletic seasons. Each feature will touch on student-athletes and their interesting and unique journeys at Northern Michigan University.
In the sixth edition of the series, NMU Athletics highlights Sophie McDonald of the NMU Women's Cross Country and Nordic Skiing teams.
Senior Sophie McDonald (Park City, Utah) starts each academic year training with the Wildcat Women's Cross Country team where she has seen plenty of success. Two weekends ago, McDonald became just the third runner in school history to earn All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors in each of her four seasons. She also has a pair of all-region honors and the second-fastest six-kilometer time in program history.
As winter approaches, McDonald also begins training with the NMU Nordic Ski team.
"I went to a charter school (growing up) where the Olympics were held in 2002." McDonald said of how she got into skiing. "So, I did a lot of cross country skiing, especially at recess."
Skiing came first for McDonald, while running was used more as a training tool. She believes that the two sports complement each other in a way that allows her to improve in both through one training session.
McDonald balances her time as a student-athlete for both programs and manages high marks in the classroom. She has recorded numerous top-five finishes for Wildcat Nordic Ski team and was named to the GLIAC All-Academic Excellence team the past two seasons.
"It's actually kind of helpful to have school," McDonald said of the time commitment to her studies and sports. "If I had all this extra time not training, I think I would procrastinate more than I do now."
She credits her success to her family and coaches who have instilled an important to education, as well as her training. She is on-pace to be one of the most decorated runners in NMU Cross Country history and has been a staple for the Nordic Ski team that constantly competes at the national and global levels. To top it off, McDonald will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in Nueroscience.
"Overall, it's been a really good time, and I am very glad that I chose Northern Michigan."