March 7, 2011
HOUSTON - The University of Houston cross country and track and field teams have been in action around the community in several venues in the early months of 2011.
In the last month, head coach Ryan Turner and his team, along with members of the Cougar Track and Field team, have taken part in health and fitness talks at Texas Children Hospital, the Steps for Students fundraiser in Houston and the Darling Dash in Sugar Land, Texas to close out the month of February by giving back to the community.
The Fall 2011 Conference USA Spirit of Service award winner, senior Jasmine Trier, took her track teammates to Texas Children's Hospital to talk to children about staying active and healthy.
She and several members of the track team were on hand to help with the cause that Trier has worked with throughout her time at Houston, fighting childhood obesity. Trier and her teammates talked to the TCH patients about their own stories about making healthy choices in their own lives, including how they stay active and make good nutrition choices.
"This is a cause that is really important to me, and it's wonderful to see how the kids respond to having us there," Trier said. "It means a lot that my teammates want to get involved, too."
The Cougar cross country team participated in the Sixth Annual Steps for Students Houston fundraiser on Feb. 19. UH staff members Maria Peden, Jamie Lewis and Justin Lewis each raced - and placed - in the event where over 7,000 people joined in support of Catholic Education.
"It was a good experience for our kids to participate in an event like this," head coach Ryan Turner said. "Anytime they can get involved and help kids also helps our student-athletes become better role models. I'm proud of how willing they are to help."
Turner's team also participated in the Darling Dash on Feb. 27 in Sugar Land. The revenue generated by the Darling Dash 1K and 5k races helps fund the As One Foundation's efforts to prevent future deaths of young athletes by promoting sickle cell trait awareness.
The As One Foundation was started in honor of Devaughn Darling, who died during spring college football practice in 2001. The race will commemorate the tenth anniversary of Devaughn's death as well as promote awareness of Sickle Cell Trait, which attributed to his untimely death that would've been prevented had he been properly hydrated.
Devaughn's identical twin, Devard lives on as a professional football player and started the As One Foundation in his brother's memory with the mission to provide opportunities to help unlock and unleash the full potential of young people through athletics, education and spiritual enrichment.
The Cougars are preparing to transition into the outdoor track and field season, starting with the Puerto Rico Spring Break Classic on March 19.