After success at Arcadia, cross country siblings bring talents to ASU
TEMPE, Ariz. — Most athletes can look back at their childhood and see what steered them toward sports.
The answer for Arizona State cross country runners John and Megan Reniewicki is clear: their father.
The brother and sister were surrounded by the track and cross country culture for most of their lives, playing in the sand long jump pit after school. That was due to the time spent with their father, Rob Reniewicki, a longtime track and field coach with Arcadia High School who is now with Chaparral.
“We looked up to the kids that were there,” John said. “He had some successful athletes in the distance events over the years so we looked at them and aspired to be like that. I know for me personally, that’s what got me so motivated to be a runner.”
Their journey led them to ASU, where John is a top runner for the men’s team and whose highlights include a fourth-place finish in the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson in September. He hopes for a strong outing in the Pac-12 Championships in Springfield, Ore., this weekend.
Megan is redshirting this season due to an injury on her right leg that she suffered during track season.
Being surrounded by a running culture motivated John to become the runner that he is now. For Megan, her inspiration came from a different place.
“When John started running when he was young, I went to one of his club meets and I saw him running and girls my age running and then I just wanted to be apart of the family,” Megan said.
Both flourished in the sport and ran their way onto the ASU cross country and track and field teams.
The two haven’t always run together. John graduated in 2014, two years before Megan. Both said that it was a bit weird at first without their sibling competing with them.
“I feel like that aside from the coaches and the people on the team, that was one of the big reasons I did come to ASU because I just thought that would be a really awesome experience to be able to run with John again on the same team,” Megan said.
They’ve worked their way to being leaders on the ASU team through hard work and competitiveness, a trait new coach Jeremy Rasmussen wants them to lean on this season. He cited Megan’s first season with the team and her “tremendous desire to be great” as an opportunity to help out her teammates who haven’t had that experience yet.
“John has come through and developed himself into a leader through the work ethic that he has,” Rasmussen said.
Though some get burned out of their sport after a while, that isn’t the case for the Reniewickis. Their love of the sport has only grown since coming here.
“Each day I get just more hungry to do better and really improve myself, especially now that I’m here, running at the collegiate level,” Megan said.
Even though running in cross country and track and field can be a bit different between men and women, there’s still a bit of friendly competition between the two, going as far to check on each other’s times after they compete to see who did better.
“It’s always kind of been there, just in general, we’re both very competitive people,” Megan said. “I see him working so hard so I want to work hard as well.”
Both have. And after being inspired by their father’s career, they hope to make an impact, too.