Story by: Mykala Wright
If you ask Stephen Stutz, a 17 year-old Idaho teen, why he enjoys running, he will simply reply, “I just like to run.”
Stutz is a junior at Madison High School and is a member of both the MHS track and cross country teams. Stutz enjoys his sport and has been running since the seventh grade.
Stutz however, doesn’t just run for fun, as much as he enjoys it. Stutz is also working toward receiving a running scholarship.
“I just want to be able to go somewhere close,” Stutz said. “Utah State and BYU-Provo are my top schools, but anywhere close would be great.”
Stutz casually laughed as he said why he wanted to receive a scholarship. “I would love to run in college,” Stutz said. “Running is fun, and getting a scholarship for it would be nice because then I wouldn’t have to pay for it.”
Stutz’s teammate Kathryn Lemon mentioned that she thought Stutz has a good chance of receiving a scholarship. “He’s very focused,” Lemon said. “He definitely knows what he is going for, and he doesn’t stop trying until he reaches his goals.”
Stutz is maintaining a 4.0, which he says is also required to receive a scholarship.
Although Stutz has seen many successes during his five year running career, he has also encountered many setbacks. In September of 2015, during the Tiger-Grizz Invitational held at Freeman Park, Stutz suffered from one of the worst injuries a runner could have – a pulled hamstring.
“I was worried that with my injury I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted to do.” Stutz said. “I just ran down the hills too fast and wasn’t strong enough then to withstand the strain it put on my muscles.”
Stutz recalled thinking that he thought it was only sore muscles at first, but that it turned into something more serious. “I was out for almost 5 weeks.” Stutz said. “During that time I had to cross train and tone down my mileage so I could be ready to run for districts.”
Stutz however, didn’t give up.
“Everyone thinks about the pain when they run,” Stutz said. “You just have to push through the hard times and think of the end results.” Stutz showed how he pushed through the hard times when he attended the cross country state meet this year with his team. He placed 36th overall in the 5A division with a time of 17:05. His boys team placed 5th in the 5A division. Despite his many setbacks, Stutz ended up having a good season for the 2015 cross country year. He hopes he can do even better in the upcoming track season.
“I don’t have any specific time goals for track,” said Stutz. “I just want to be able to run hard and do my best.”
Stutz has some advice for those hoping to do well when running. “You have to put in the work,” Stutz said. “On season and off season, if you put in the effort and want to do well, you will.”