Sophomore distance runner Ethan Lievense is part of a strong unit of young athletes who have taken leadership roles on the men’s track team.
Lievense in particular has been stepping up his performance this season, tearing through the last few weeks of competition with personal records and collecting qualifying marks for the Mid-American Conference Championships.
“Right now I’m just trying to get better everyday and just get ready to run faster and faster,” Lievense said. “I’m just making sure that I’m still hungry everyday. I’ve been having some huge personal records and I’ve been so thankful for all of them. It feels like I’m on top of the world.”
Lievense has set personal bests in the 3000-meter run in back-to-back weeks at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational and then at the Grand Valley State Quad. He has also qualified for the MAC Indoor Championships in the mile and, after this weekend, the 5000-meter run.
“Every meet I’m looking to keep getting better and better, and race as fast as I can,” Lievense said. “I know that guys from all the other teams in the MAC are wanting to beat me, so I’m just thinking that I’ve got to stay hungry. Those guy aren’t going to give in to me and I know that come conference time its a whole different ballgame.”
The health and fitness major has only attended one Indoor MAC Championship, taking 12th in the 8000-meter run last season.
After getting his qualifications out-of-the-way three weeks before the MAC Conference Championships, Lievense is now focused on getting mentally prepared for the intense competition.
“Having those out-of-the-way early just kind of lets me rest my mind a little bit and take everything in,” Lievense said. “Now I’m focused on making sure I’m going to get the most points possible for my team. I’ve had so many awesome opportunities to get those times down, thanks to my coaches, and I’m just getting ready to roll.”
Lievense is supported by his peer and fellow sophomore Kyle Stacks. Stacks has also qualified in the mile, the 3000-meter run and the 5000-meter run.
Each week, the two have been placing close in their events, pushing each other to succeed. Lievense’s progress has been tied to his partner this year as they have both been performing well for the Chippewas.
“Kyle and I have known each other for quite some time,” Lievense said. “We ran in the same division in high school, we’ve been roommates for three years we like running together, we push each other. When you have some of the fastest guys in the country, sometimes the nation, it’s cool having him there with me.
“Kyle and I have been able to work really well together,” Lievense said. “There’s a chance we’re going to be running a lot of events there so we’re gonna need each other just to help each other.”