The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Jake Phillips takes his talents to the U.S. Marines

3 min read
runner smiling

Jake Phillips smiles as he finishes his last race. | Jake Phillips

Victoria R. Percherke

Sports Editor

As track and field senior and political science major Jake Phillips crossed the finish line for the last time on April 24, he felt mixed emotions about his running career ending.

“I was sad to finish my career in track but happy to be able to have the opportunity to run track with so many accomplishments for [the past] 10 years,” said Phillips. He ran the 8k for the UMW cross country team, as well as the 5k and 1,500 for the UMW track team.

However, Phillips plans on bringing his running talents to the Marine Corps after graduation.

“What draws me to the United States Marine Corps is my love for the United States,” said Phillips. “I always wanted to serve my country in some capacity and joining the Marine Corps as an officer sounds like a perfect way to give back to the country and make it a better place.”

Phillips first started running in his elementary school’s run club in Fredericksburg, but he didn’t start competing until middle school. Growing up on the track, he won a few medals in high school track and cross country and even went to state championships one year. Phillips was also able to compete in the CAC championships and regional events for UMW. During his track and field career at UMW, the men’s team won the 2019 CAC Track & Field Championship. 

As Phillips lined up at the starting line with his teammates for the last time, his last race day brought many positive emotions. The runner recalled that the UMW track and cross country teams and coaches were always welcoming to him with open arms.

Cross country and track head coach Kunle Lawson said that Phillips was the “quiet leader” on the team. Lawson defined a quiet leader as “one who leads by example versus someone who is a bit more outspoken and vocal. He has been one to go about his work in improving himself and getting better by being dedicated to his training and the peripheral aspects to his success.”

Lawson provided Phillips some advice as his college career comes to a close.

“I want Jake to be happy knowing that he has made quite the impression on me and his teammates during his time at UMW…. It’s also important for him to realize that it’s not always the squeaky wheel that gets noticed; sometimes the one that can be counted on to do what is expected gets noticed as well,” said Lawson.

Ashley Applegate, a senior business major and member of the cross country and track teams, stated that Phillips has influenced her both as a friend and runner. 

“He has influenced me to not take life so seriously and enjoy it. We tend to joke around a lot and have a good time at practice,” she said.

Phillips is thankful for his time on the UMW cross country and track teams, but he is also looking forward to what the military life will bring him. Phillips enjoys traveling around the world and meeting new friends.

“New challenges and experiences excite me,” Phillips said. “[The UMW cross country and track teams] have been a major blessing in my life.”

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