Stand Out Cross Country Roadrunner Recognized

While it may be difficult to stand out as one of 275 runners at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship, sophomore Paul Juelis has proven himself as a stand out cross country runner for Ramapo.

He became the first Roadrunner to qualify for the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in 24 years when he finished 16th overall at the Atlantic Regional Championships on Nov. 16 and was named an all-region runner.

“I didn’t think I could actually do it in the beginning of the year,” he said. “But once I ran this race in Connecticut and my time was 25:33, which was my best time by over a minute, I realized that I could do it.”

At the National Championship on Nov. 23, he placed 180th in the 8k race out of 275 of the most elite Division III cross country runners in the nation. He finished at 26:27.00 for an average mile of 5:20.

Juelis admitted that he was pleasantly surprised with his performance this year, but he’s already setting the bar higher for himself and the team next season.

“I want to become an All-American and be top in the region,” he said. “For the team, I want to win conferences next year and make nationals as a team.”

The men’s cross country team finished third in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships on Nov. 11.

Juelis, an accounting major, was named the Roadrunner’s rookie of the year in 2012. He has become a model student athlete, excelling in academics and athletics. Juelis held a 3.45 GPA after his first two semesters.

“I feel like doing a sport actually helps me with academics, because sometimes it forces you to do your work ahead of time,” Juelis said.

He explained that he often has to finish assignments long before they are due so that he leaves time to prepare and to participate in meets on the weekend.

Juelis said that he feels that he is a good fit at Ramapo, and is happy that he chose to come here over schools with Division I and II programs.

“I was looking at many schools, and I was narrowing down my choices,” he said. “Overall, I just liked Ramapo better. I didn’t really look so much at the athletics but at the school overall, and I though Ramapo was a good fit for me.”

Juelis excelled at the high school level as well. The Middletown, N.J. resident attended Mater Dei Prep School and was named as an All-County and All-Conference runner as a junior in 2011.

He served as captain of his school’s cross country team for his junior and senior year and was honored with the Monmouth County Sportsmanship Award both of those years.

“Looking back, I saw that that was really great, but I thought I could always do better and go bigger,” he said.