German runner gets second wind in States

After Karl Schreiber flew from Germany and landed in southeast Texas, he hit the ground running û and didn’t stop.

The junior cross-country runner said he came to Sam Houston State University in search for an avenue to continue his athletic career.

Schreiber said he didn’t want to end competitive running because he lived in Rostock, Germany. He wanted to study in the United States to continue to run competitively and attain his degree û something that seemed near impossible for him to do back home.

“The U.S. has the best system where they ensure me a degree and give me the opportunity to run at the competitive level,” Schreiber said. “I didn’t want to necessarily stay at home. I wanted to explore different cultures, different universities, and different systems as well as sport systems.”

Schreiber began researching universities and contacting track coaches about his pursuit to continue running. But as a foreign runner for FIKO Rostoch, many coaches weren’t interested in recruiting him, Schreiber said.

However, SHSU assistant track coach Jesse Parker was one of the few coaches who invested interest in Schreiber. After Skype interviews with the German native, SHSU signed him.

“I saw a guy who was passionate about running, dedicated and I knew he was going to take his athletic and academic performance seriously,” Parker said. “He was serious and passionate about his running, and I knew I could work with someone like that.”

After signing with SHSU, Schreiber said his hope was becoming a reality and that it was more than he even imagined.

The junior has maintained his presence within the Southland Conference as a top competitor throughout his collegiate career. Recently Schreiber’s performances helped push the men’s cross-country team to top finishes in their past two tournaments, including a 10th place effort at the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islander Classic.

Running has been embedded into Schreiber’s life. His father was a former member of the German national team.

His passion grew from the simplicity of the sport.

“I don’t need a ball and I don’t need other players that have to play with me,” he said. “I can just go out no matter what the weather is outside. I just tie my shoes and go and run. I’m not dependent on anything else.”

Assistant track coach Chris Jones said Schreiber’s mental preparation during the season is the strongest aspect of his training.

“Being from Germany, he truly has that desire to run,” Jones said. “His dedication to running [is most unique]. He is definitely one of the leaders, and he’s not here just because. He takes pride in running.”

Before every meet, Schreiber said he focuses on his upcoming run, clearing any thoughts that could hamper his performance.

“Once the gun goes off, all that pressure and tension fall off,” Schreiber said. “You just have to turn your head up and let the legs do the work.”

With a little less than two years left in Schreiber’s college career, he hopes to finish in the top 15 at the SLC Championship and to leave his name in SHSU history.

“I kind of peeked at the school’s records,” he said. “But now with junior season and next year, these goals should be very attainable with good practice, the right mindset, motivation and rest.”

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