The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

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The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

Cross country coach Sophie Schmitz finds new ways to love running through coaching

Managing a nine-to-five job at a dental clinic, applying to dental school, and coaching might seem like a handful, but for cross country coach Sophie Schmitz, it is just daily life. Returning for her second year at SPA, she bridges the gaps between being a student, a young adult, and a coach.

Schmitz has had a long relationship with cross country. She started running in seventh grade and once she reached high school, realized she wanted to continue her sport at the next level. She furthered her cross-country career in college, running for the University of Minnesota for four years.

Her time on the U of M cross-country team helped her realize her dream to be a dentist. Schmitz always knew she wanted to go into medicine and was inspired by the upperclassmen on her team who had worked in a clinic. She started her own journey in dentistry when her teammate and close friend introduced her to a job at a dental clinic on campus.

Schmitz said, “I actually really enjoyed the culture, the clinic, the patients, the providers, and just stuck with it.”

From then on, she developed an interest in dentistry and after graduating in May 2022, applied to dental school.

The next day you wake up, and you’re no longer a collegiate athlete, you’re just a person.

— Sophie Schmitz

After graduating, Schmitz faced the reality of many collegiate athletes post-graduation.

“It just stopped one day,” Schmitz said. “I finished the race, and I realized that was my last race ever in college, […] the next day you wake up, and you’re no longer a collegiate athlete, you’re just a person.”

But she didn’t want it to end there. Her lingering love for the sport inspired her to coach.

Schmitz adds, “I still have this love for the sport, and so I feel like I can channel it by being a coach.”

As a coach, she brings a level of relatability to student-athletes because of the smaller age gap. At first, she found it challenging because, for her, the roles were reversed not too long ago. She was the one being coached. Aware of the smaller age gap, Schmitz hopes to create a relationship of understanding. She compares her relationship with the cross country team to her and her former college coach, who also wasn’t much older than her.

“I find myself reflecting on that relationship a lot when I’m with these kids because […] I was just in college running on a team.”

Sophie Schmitz’s job as a coach is to help and guide the student-athletes. Transitioning from being a student-athlete herself to coaching, she said that the team has helped her understand more about who she is, as a coach and as a person.

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Lani Ngonethong, News editor
My name is Lani Ngonethong, she/her. I am a News Editor for the Rubicon Online, and this is my second year on staff. In my free time, I enjoy playing volleyball and badminton with friends and family. I am also learning how to speak Hmong and Lao. I love to play with cats even though I am very allergic to them. I can be reached at [email protected].

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