WICHITA, Kan. – Rita Schnacker runs two events at Wichita State University; the 5K, which is a distance of 12.5 laps on an outdoor 400 m track or 25 laps on a standard indoor track, as well as the 3K run, which is where 7.5 laps are completed around an outdoor track or 15 laps around an indoor track.
Schnacker initially pursued track because she enjoyed it. It wasn’t until her high school years she found a passion for running and discovered that running is a part of who she is. She started competitively running at the age of 12.
Schnacker found Wichita State’s cross country and track teams to be a perfect fit. She could also see herself fitting in very smoothly.
“I really enjoyed the people on the team as well as the coaches,” Schnacker said.
Schnacker thought WSU was a great fit since the environment she was immersed in was filled with joy from her teammates and coaches.
“My experience here so far has met, if not exceeded many of my expectations,” Schnacker said.
One thing stands out to Schnacker at WSU and that’s the coaching staff. She says she saw WSU as a perfect fit because the coaching staff seeks athletes that may not be as good out of high school, but who are willing to work and develop into a high-level athlete. Schnacker appreciates the atmosphere at Wichita State and believes it has helped her grow exponentially.
“I am always willing to listen to a coach’s critiques and work to make corrections,” Schnacker said. “I know it will make me better in the long run.”
Being competitive gives Schnacker the strength to have successful meets.
“I am able to watch all my hard work finally pay off on race day,” Schnacker said. “That is a euphoric feeling for me and keeps me coming back to run.”
Schnacker knows that a successful team is made up of athletes that are highly competitive with each other and do not hold attitudes or resentment if a teammate is beating them. She is aware that a successful team will acknowledge their teammate’s success and ask themselves what they can do to reach that level of success instead of being resentful.
“I used to get very down on myself until I learned that the sport of running is a game of patience,” Schnacker said.
Schnacker has learned many things on and off the track and encourages patience before reaching success.