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Volume 68, Issue 25, Monday, September 30, 2002


Mike Olague provides veteran leadership 
to cross country team

By Emily Davis
The Daily Cougar

Four years of college have literally flown by for fifth-year senior Mike Olague. Throughout his four years of running cross country and track for UH, the soft-spoken journalism/history major has seen his share of success both in and out of the running shoes.

A native of Shreveport, La., Olague began running cross country during his freshman year at Conroe High School.

"My junior high coach really got me pumped about running," Olague said. "I was never into organized sports before then."

Olague recounts his most glorious moments on the UH cross country team taking place his sophomore and junior years.

"It was awesome when I qualified for nationals my junior year," he said. "But team wise, the best moment was when we won conference my sophomore year."

Fifth-year senior Mike Olague leads the charge for the UH men's cross country team on and off the course. Olague said he believes the 2002 team is a close-knit group.

Nathan Lindstrom/The Daily Cougar

But running is not the only activity on Olague's mind. Volunteering with Young Life a Christian outreach group geared toward high school kids occupies the cross country team captain's down time.

"I also like to play disk golf and just hang out with my friends," Olague said.

Olague said he strives to be a good role model for the other members of his team and makes an effort to keep the close knit runners on the right track.

"Not only is he (Olague) a great runner, he's a great friend," junior co-captain Jason Banes said. "He leads by example and doesn't let anyone slack off."

Olague plans to graduate in August and pursue a position in the graduate assistant program with UH athletics. He wants to maintain his running schedule and eventually put his academic training to use and write for a small town newspaper.

"I also have a goal of running with the Santa Monica Track Club sometime after graduation," he said. "But that's pretty far down the road. I like to accomplish one goal at a time."

The die-hard U2 fan said going to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship meet is his personal goal.

He said he also expects his veteran experience will help accomplish the team's goal of at least a fifth-place spot in the Conference USA Championship meet.

"The fact that (Olague) is a fifth-year senior is a huge asset for our team," sophomore teammate Carlos Rivas said. "He knows all about the meets we go to and he's our only runner who has been to Nationals."

Olague said he considers the 2002 season as his best time on the UH cross country team. About a third of the men's team live together on campus, to which Olague attributes their strong friendships.

"We have a blast together and Mike (Olague) is the ring leader," said Rivas. "He always has some great idea for something to do, and it's not partying, it's wholesome." 

Olague said he is going to miss the experiences he makes each year while running for UH. But he said he looks forward to the benefits that the added discipline of a four-year running career will yield in the future.

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