The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) at Illinois State University is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This series, CAST 50×50, is designed to highlight 50 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and organizations within CAST that make the college special. These notable people will tell you that every day in CAST is a great day to be a Redbird!

#CAST50 goes the distance with sophomore track team member and CAST student, Sarah Voss.

What is your major and what year are you at ISU?

My major is pre-veterinary science and I am a sophomore!

Tell us what it is like being a student athlete.

Despite the amount of time management that it requires being a track athlete at the division one level, I would not trade this opportunity for anything. I usually have practice five to six days a week from August until May with workouts twice a week and long runs on Sunday mornings. Since many of us are distance runners, we don’t really have an off season at all, but we do take about a week off from running at the end of cross country season (during Thanksgiving week), and a two week break in May or June after outdoor track season ends. My teammates and I train together year round which makes our team bond very strong and I can say that all of my best friends are my teammates.

Most people like to stay away from that thing called running. What gets you through those long runs?

Yes, I agree that even us distance runners think we are crazy sometimes! On average we run approximately 40 miles a week. During these long runs, typically between 10-13 miles, it does become very difficult to remain positive and focused. Usually talking to my teammates about everything in life, and encouraging each other gets me to the end. Also, I typically am singing positive songs in my head gives me that extra boost to enjoy the journey. Many days the runs are really hard, but those few sweet victories make the hard ones worth it. I also trust God during my long workouts when I feel like I don’t have the strength to keep battling alone. I trust He will give me the strength to finish.

Sophomore distance runner, Sarah Voss.

Since you have a few years left here at ISU, what goals do you have on the track and in the classroom?

I have many big goals for my last two years here at ISU, both on the track and in the classroom. Besides getting faster and stronger in my races, I mainly want to truly enjoy every moment of the journey that I have here and never give up on myself. I want to race at a conference meet and score points for my team in one of the three championships each year. I want to build lasting friendships with my teammates and learn as much as I can about my ability to run. In the classroom I want to be able to challenge myself to get good grades. My end goal is to apply to veterinary school and be admitted! It is a tough career path, but I believe that I can do it with a little hard work and determination.

What is your favorite part about your major? Do you have an idea of your career path?

My absolute favorite part about my major is the hands-on learning experiences that I get to have in a few of my animal science classes. I love to be around any type of animal, so getting to take the classroom outdoors (at the University Farm) is always so much fun! It also really helps me learn the material if I can relate it back to an experience. Through my major I got a volunteer position at Miller Park Zoo here in town and even though it is a large time commitment to go every Saturday, I have truly loved learning all about kinds of animals there. It is such a valuable experience for my goal of being a veterinarian. Finding ways to connect my experiences to my studies is so important.

Think you know someone who should be featured? Contact us!