Entering the limelight this week‒in a time when his humor could not be more appreciated nor needed‒ is Senior Andrew Stumbo of the Male Cross-Country team.
Originating from Ogden High School in Boone, Iowa, Stumbo has been involved in athletics since elementary school, and has done Gustavus proud over his athletic career here- this past January he was named an All-Academic Athlete by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association.
For Stumbo, the best part of Gustavus athletics is the community.
“The cross-country team is a very tightly-knit group and we’re pretty comfortable looking like idiots in front of the rest of campus. Most of the team is willing to do some ridiculous shenanigans together because we don’t take ourselves too seriously. This balances nicely with the competitive edge we’ve developed over the last few years,” Stumbo said.
He also enjoys getting to run with his teammates.
“We go out and chat, joke and generally just mess around. If it’s a hard day, there’s always someone you can rely on to take the lead,” Stumbo said.
Stumbo also commented on the changes that cross-country has faced this year.
“Running in pods has been less than ideal. One of my favorite things about cross country is having a group of 20+ guys all out for a run together, which is a shocking thought in the current environment,” Stumbo said.
Despite it all, it seems the fun of the cross-country team cannot be marred completely.
“We get the hard work done and we have a lot of stupid fun doing it,” Stumbo said.
Stumbo says that cross-country has given him a good way to manage college stress.
“[It’s] a good outlet. A few hours every day spent on something that isn’t whatever is stressing me out (unless it’s the running that’s stressing me out) is a great mental reset, making me much more productive,” Stumbo said.
Cross-country has also given Stumbo quite a few fun stories.
“Last year, right before COVID ended everything, we had our conference meet for track. I ran the 5K and the 3k and had a very poor 5k race. The 3k was that next day and I was scared out of my mind for it because the slow heat was a few hours before the fast heat and the guy that won the slow heat ran exactly my PR. I went into that race fully prepared to hurt a lot and told myself that that wasn’t going to stop me, and I wound up running a solid PR and getting fourth in the conference,” Stumbo said.
The euphoria of performing so well didn’t last long.
“Well, I would have [performed well], had I not been disqualified,” Stumbo said.
Despite the loss Gustavus will feel at his graduation, Stumbo (and all of us with him) look forward to the future with excitement.
As a Music Education major, what Stumbo most looks forward to in future is having his own classroom.
“I’m a Vocal Music Education major and I’m just really excited to get out and direct a choir,” Stumbo said.
Outside athletics and the classroom, it is a less commonly known fact about Stumbo that he has, in the past, been heavily involved in theater.
“I’ve done quite a bit of acting in my life. I’ve appeared onstage in my underwear, dropped into a split I was very much unprepared for and carried a rubber chicken onstage instead of a gun,” Stumbo said.
It is no wonder then that Stumbo is known for his trademark sense of humor.
Stumbo offered a few words of advice for underclass students.
“For the love of god, don’t overextend yourself. What I started this year calling a “senior slide” is actually “a healthy school/work/life balance.” Every year I hear about first-years hurling themselves into three labs and a 300-level religion class while founding a student org and learning to juggle while playing the clarinet. I know it seems like you need to do all of that right now, but just relax a little bit. You’ll thank yourself when you’re my age, practically geriatric,” Stumbo said.