Looking at sophomore Jerrell Mock, you would never think he was a star athlete. Tall, slim and quiet, he seems more of an introspective type. In high school, Mock competed as a distance runner doing 8K and 10K races, then added cross country racing. He explains, “Cross country racing is very different than track. There’s a big field of people – hundreds in the same race.”
It’s easy to be missed in a crowd like that.
On October 30, Mock stood out by winning the Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championship in Reno, Nevada. Mock finished with a time of 26:16.26, beating hundreds of other runners. The Colorado State cross country team competed against 8 other teams, including Air Force Academy and Boise State. “Both have good runners,” he said. His success placed No. 30 Colorado State men’s team in second in the Mountain West, surpassing predictions in the MW Pre-Championship Coaches’ Poll.
To follow up, at the NCAA Regional meet in Albuquerque, NM on November 13th Mock placed 6th in the 10K, and qualified for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on November 21st in Louisville, KY. At the national championships Mock was 19th out of 252 runners with a time of 30:10.3. His top-20 finish earned him a spot as an All-American for 2015.
Though participating in sports is important to him, Mock’s eyes light up when he speaks of academics. He was originally interested in Forestry but after taking Developmental Plant Anatomy with Dr. June Medford, he decided to switch directions and is currently majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Botany. As if that weren’t enough, he plans to add Microbiology as a minor in his junior year.
As a student-athlete with a major in the sciences, he notes that balancing running and studies is quite challenging. “Doing sports and studying science forced me to be really organized with school work,” Mock said. “We have to travel every couple of weeks, and some races are back-to-back.” That can make it difficult to complete classwork on time and to show up for exams.
“A lot of folks have something to do outside of school and we all strive for balance. It can be a nice release to go to practice, but study can also put practice out of your mind.”
He was recruited by Colorado State to join the cross country team last year. He chose Colorado State because he wanted new experiences, different from his home in Utah, yet still near the mountains. Fort Collins fit that bill, plus the variety of academic programs at Colorado State was a big attraction.
“CSU has the program I wanted to study and the coaches are great.” He said, “It’s the perfect place to come!”