XC stars Meyer, Ullom will be remembered as more than standout runners
Abby Miller | Staff Writer
Seniors Maddie Ullom and Johan Meyer have run away with records, but the imprints they’ve made on the program consist of so much more.
The Mason cross country teams, both boys and girls, are powerhouses that produce strong runners, as well as leaders. But there are specifically two seniors that will leave a huge mark. Meyer and Ullom have been instrumental to their teams throughout their time in the program.
Meyer, who finished with the fastest time in the Greater Miami Conference (GMC) this year, has left his legacy in numerous ways. Meyer’s teammate, sophomore Alex DeRoussel, said he created a welcoming environment for everyone and helped create strong team chemistry. DeRoussel said one thing specifically that he hopes to emulate from Meyer was his willingness to include everyone on the team, and make connections with the underclassmen.
“Johan is really a great guy, and I think he just inspires people,” DeRoussel said. “I think he’s setting a precedent for future seniors to impact and influence the underclassmen and the people. He’s shown us how to lead the team, and whatever it is, he’s always there, always encouraging us.”
On the girls side, Ullom also has the fastest time in the GMC, and placed 12th individually at the state meet. She joined the cross country program as a junior, so she’s only spent 2 years with the team – yet her impact on and off the course has been unmistakable.
Ullom’s teammate, sophomore Kennedy Radar, said that she will miss the constant support and motivation that came from Ullom at practices. Radar said Ullom’s persistent and committed personality helped push the team to keep going, no matter what challenges were ahead.
“Maddie is always really supportive about everything, and she’s always telling us that we can do it,” Radar said. “Everytime that we start to slow down or fall off of her, she tries to pick us back up. She’s just a really great friend and a great leader and she’s always going to be there to help you whether we’re running or not running.”
Apart from being encouraging teammates, Meyer and Ullom had character
that was contagious for the team and acted as examples for everybody to look up to. Boys cross country coach
Tom Rapp said that Meyer specifically was someone who was always willing to put in the extra work, and was incredible to have on the team.
“I like coaching Johan because you can count on him every race to give his best,” Rapp said. “He has a fiery personality, and so we direct that fiery personality into being successful and being team oriented. He is fun-loving and works extremely hard and he wants to be very good and is willing to put in the effort to be that.”
Like Meyer, the way Ullom headed the girl’s program is a trait that the rest of the team is hopeful to replicate in the future. Girls cross country coach Chip Dobson said her teammates will hope to mirror her leadership and dedication to the program when Ullom leaves.
“I think Maddie leads by example in that she pushes the pace,” Dobson said. “She brings an intensity, focus, and purpose that not a lot of athletes have. And I think that [her teammates] can take away her commitment to excellence and her desire to take the team to the next level.”
For Meyer, he said the part of the program he’ll miss the most is the coaching that Rapp provided for him, and the genuine care and compassion he had for every single one of his athletes.
“I’ve played many sports and there’s never been a coach that has cared so much about his athletes like Coach Rapp,” Meyer said. “No matter where you are on the team he cares about every part of you. He puts so much detail and so much effort into his coaching and that just pushes you to want to be the best you can possibly be.”
Both runners have logged hundreds of miles under their belt, with impressive times and finishes. With Ullom’s stats, there’s no doubt she’ll leave a mark and a lasting legacy on the program. But Ullom said that for her, she wants to be remembered by more than just the numbers.
“I want people to remember more than just how I ran,” Ullom said. “I want to be remembered by the relationships I’ve had with my teammates and the things we got to do together. We got to run with each other, and develop our friendships every single day.”