In his second year on the cross country team, Paul Lewis, Albion sophomore, hasn’t just accepted the challenge that’s been presented to him; he’s welcomed it, helping to lead his team. That approach also pervades the off-field aspects of his life.
“Paul is a real renaissance man,” Hayden Smith, Albion College’s cross country coach, said. “While I have the opportunity to coach him in cross country where he excels, Paul is so much more. He combines athletics, music, and theatre with a rigorous academic curriculum. Paul epitomizes getting the most out of college.”
Lewis competes in three sports at Albion. He has earned all-MIAA and all-Region honors in cross country, and placed at the MIAA Championship Meet in track and field. As a part of the swim program at Albion, Lewis was 7th in the MIAA for 3m diving last year.
In addition to taking on competition in a sports setting, Lewis challenges himself in other aspects of his collegiate career.
Lewis is working with a few small plays on campus, and is currently in the Albion Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra. He’s also working on constructing a music production.
More is necessary than just ability to participate in so many extracurricular activities—it takes character.
“He’s very motivated, very driven, very competitive,” team captain Dion Pruitt, Ann Arbor junior, said. “He’s constantly competitive with himself. His drive comes from mental strength.”
Lewis said that his mental strength doesn’t just come from himself. He finds it in other people.
“My success in every aspect of my career comes from everyone,” Lewis noted. “Everyone is pushing me. If that wasn’t the case I think there would be less of an incentive to work hard.”
Lewis said last season’s NCAA Division III Men’s Cross Country Regional Meet was a major turning point in his career.
“I think our cross country regionals last year was a really big moment for me,” Lewis said. “We were waiting to find out if we were going to nationals. And we did. And I looked at my coach, Hayden, and his eyes started tearing up. And just seeing that pure happiness made me realize, ‘All right, we have to go out here and do something now.’ It was really motivational.”
Lewis has demonstrated this remarkable determination and motivation.
Last year, Lewis clocked in his best eight kilometer race at a time of 25:34. This year, Lewis is ten seconds away from Albion’s record of 25:03.
On the whole, the team has had a great season thus far going into Regionals next weekend. The Brits looked strong while taking third at the MIAA championship last weekend.
At Regionals the team will attempt to qualify for Nationals for the second consecutive year.
“Our cross country season has definitely been an anxious, nervous, excited roller coaster ride that’s right at the climax as we speak,” Lewis said. “We’ve been very successful this year; winning has delightedly been a word used often when speaking about our meets.”
“There’s a sense of pride that comes with being a part of Albion,” a smiling Lewis added. “There’s urgency for greatness.”