Wildcats, meet freshmen Margaret Champagne and Nicolas Ochoa-Sevilla. Both are promising runners for the ‘Cats this year and can hopefully bring something unique to the table. Young talent is always exciting and these two have plenty of time to let their presence be known at UNH. Meg Champagne has one race under her belt so far and hopefully her success continues. Currently an undeclared major, the freshman from Plattsburgh, N.Y. ran an impressive first race last weekend finishing the five kilometer course in 18 minutes, 32.10 seconds placing ninth.
“I was pretty nervous, just because I didn’t know where I would be or what to expect. I was really happy with it,” Champagne said following her debut.
Champagne has a deep history of running. Playing no other sports, she has been able to focus on running since she started in seventh grade at 12 years old. With that in mind, UNH became an instant option for Champagne, especially having a former Wildcat runner as a mother.
“Well my mom ran here back in the day so that’s why I started looking at it and I ended up really liking it,” said Champagne. Champagne’s mother, Cathy Champagne, ran for UNH in the early 1980s, continuing on to pursue a marathon career.
“I think that I have a lot of experience that I’ve been running so long and over the years I’ve really grown as a runner and I’ve been able to push myself in my races,” said Champagne on what she can contribute to the team. “I’m looking forward to the team aspect. I went to a really small school and I didn’t have many teammates to run with so I’m really excited about that.”
With many more races to come, Champagne will have plenty of time to make her mark here in Durham, just as her mother did before her.
“Obviously it’s all new to me so a big goal for me is having a good freshman year and seeing where I fit on the team and doing my best,” She said.
On the men’s side, we have Nicolas Ochoa-Sevilla. Nicolas is from Chester N.H., studying computer engineering. Much like teammate Champagne, he prefers the long distances. Making the switch from soccer to the cross country course in eighth grade, Sevilla worked his way up to become a varsity runner. His peak before college was capturing his high school record for the two-mile event in track. Sevilla had a unique training opportunity this summer.
“I trained in Colorado and it was really fun training there. I was able to hit 50 miles for one of the last weeks of the summer,” said Sevilla. However soon after this training, Sevilla suffered a sprained ankle and was held out of the first meet for UNH this season. He has yet to run an intercollegiate race.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it. Definitely will have a few butterflies but I haven’t raced in a long time so I’m looking forward to racing,” he said.
Sevilla has some pretty simple goals for himself this year. “Getting faster, getting good grades, and having a fun time while doing it.” In closing, Nicolas had this to say about the sport he has decided to stick with all these years.
“I like the competitiveness. It’s not the most fun sport but it is one of the most rewarding especially when you’re training for months and then you race and you put down a good time,” said Sevilla
Be sure to keep up with these two and the rest of the ‘Cats as they progress in the cross-country season and beyond.