By Maia McArthur
Sydney Bigelow, top runner and standout team mate, is making big strides for Southern Virginia’s track and field program.
The sophomore transfer student from Provo, Utah is a triple threat in the middle-distance events; competing in the 400-meter race, 800-meter run, and one-mile run. She ran a personal best of 1:04.9 in the 400, 2:29.23 in the 800 and a 5:51.9 one-mile this season. Sydney is also a strong asset in the relay teams, running the 4X400, 4x800 and distance medley events.
“Sydney has been a great blessing to our team. Her work ethic is everything a coach could want,” commented Clint May, head track and field coach. “She comes to practice every day with a great attitude, whether we do a recovery effort or a ‘till your legs want to fall off’ workout. Everyone recognizes that Sydney is willing to do hard things to become a better runner, and they benefit from that example.”
What brought you to Southern Virginia University?
The track and field program motivated my decision to come here. I was also looking for an LDS school outside of Utah, while seriously thinking about serving a mission and I felt like this was the place I had to be to prepare for that next step. So, one day I just decided to do it and I felt good about it.
In what ways has Southern Virginia University benefited you as a student-athlete?
The accessibility I have to my professors, here you can talk to them and they are willing to help you. The unique environment that is here helps me be a lot more focused and motivated to do my school work.
What is your major in college, and why?
Business management and leadership with the goal towards working construction management.
What do you enjoy about running?
I love that running has taught me a lot about listening to my body. In track your body is the whole sport and if your body is not feeling good running is hard! I’ve enjoyed the challenge to constantly stay healthy, it’s made me a better runner and is a great lifestyle.
What would you like to do for a career?
I would like to create my own business renovating homes—have you seen the show “Fixer Upper”?—something like that. I would like to make them for single moms or families in need, eventually I would like to travel and do humanitarian construction projects.
What is an important issue facing college students?
We are in such a transitional period of life and I think we can get caught staying in the comfort zone.
Who is your favorite athlete or team?
Allyson Felix and Sandra Richard Ross.
Describe the most memorable experience during your collegiate athletic career so far:
The track meet we had at Liberty University—their indoor facilities are some of the nicest in the nation and running on that track was incredible! Liberty is a religious school as well–so they said a group prayer before the 4x400 relay, it was the first time I had never been invited into a different denomination’s prayer, and it was a memorable interfaith experience.
What would you say is the most meaningful life lesson your sport has taught you?
Grit—being gritty. You need to be mentally tough to run track— it has improved my mental toughness, positivity and outlook about life. If you go into a race with a negative mindset and tell yourself that you’re not going to do well you won’t but when you go into it with a positive mindset those end up being your best races, it’s mind over matter.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of playing your sport?
Hiking, being outside, traveling.
Where is your all-time favorite place to visit?
New York City, Washington DC, any big city—I love big cities and anywhere new, I love to see new places.
Outside of your family, who is the most influential person in your life?
Coach May, he is very dedicated and knows and loves his athletes. He works really hard even when things are hard for him and that’s how I want to be –I want to be able to work hard through tough times. He’s just a cool guy.
What advice would you give to elementary school children?
Start thinking about college now! Have fun and enjoy having your parents pay for you while you can because it’s not so fun to have only eggs in your fridge.
Name three people, real or fictional, living or dead, that you'd like to have dinner with?
Michael Jackson, Krissy Tegan, Hermione Granger.
What is your all-time favorite inspirational quote?
“The faster you run the faster you’re done.”