Wednesday, Spetember 26, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 25


Queen of cross country

By Tom Carpenter
Daily Cougar Staff

Running over hill and dale doesn't appeal to most athletes. Like the Maytag repairman says, it's lonely on the job.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

Senior Monica Reyna, fourth from left, and her Cougar teammates ham it for the camera Friday before the start of the Houston Invitational along
the banks of Buffalo Bayou.

Senior Monica Reyna has been running around golf courses and along bayous for five years doing what she loves to do: race and compete for

"The coaching staff is awesome. You get treated very well at the athletic facility," Reyna said.

Cross country remains a little-known sport, so Reyna's college exploits are relatively unknown outside the track and field circles.

"She's our captain. She's one of the most consistent runners over the past few years," women's cross country head coach Theresa Fuqua said.
"She's an excellent leader for this group."

Reyna began running in junior high school without a coach or any structured training.

"My sister ran when she was in high school," Reyna said. "I started running in her high school meets and not crossing the finish line. I'd just veer
off to the side and disappear when the race was almost over."

The early training paid off for Reyna. The Richmond native qualified for the state cross country championship three times in high school, as well
as once for track and field.

The speedy distance runner was the Cougar cross country Most Valuable Player last year, finishing first for the Cougars in every race she

"I came to UH because of the program," the hotel and restaurant management major said. "As far as my classes are concerned, they're great. I
love my major."

Reyna worked at Papasito's during the summer and decided she wants to go into the restaurant business after she graduates in December.

"I'm going to miss it here. The camaraderie that we had as a team was the best," Reyna said. "They are like your sisters, each one of them. Each
year you get new ones and you keep in touch with the old ones. So each year we have different memories we create."

That includes the five camps she attended during her career with the rest of the track teams.

"One week before we (came) to school we all (stayed) together in the Cullen house in New Braunfels," Reyna said. "It's part of the program. We
run the whole week. You're in a small house together and you do everything together, so you have to get to know each other. I'll miss that more
than anything."

Fuqua said Reyna's steady production and leadership will be missed.

"She always tells the other girls what they need to hear and she always leads by example," Fuqua said. "A very good example."

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