Coach Maus (2nd from left) and Rosenbaum (3rd from left) joke with the team at a cross country meet. (photo/ ONU Sports Information)

There is no other athlete quite like a cross-country runner. The sport requires a unique type of discipline and spirituality. It is a constant battle with one’s self, and about half-way through the 2015 season, the Ohio Northern Men’s Cross Country team is winning that battle.

With a recent climb to #19 in the NCAA Division III National Polls, the team is looking at a promising season. However, there is one key runner that is taking on a different role in contributing to this success.

Renowned American middle and long-distance Olympian Steve Prefontaine once said, “to give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” It is safe to say that Nathan Rosenbaum spent his four years of athletic eligibility giving his best. His stats are among the most decorated in ONU history, with two NCAA DIII Cross Country Championship appearances and two Academic All-America honors to name a few.

It was clear from the beginning of his career that he would be a tough act to follow.

“Nathan was, and still is, such a great asset to our program. He was a tremendous leader on the course and in the locker room,” said Head Coach Jason Maus.

Having graduated in May, Rosenbaum has hung up his spikes and dusted off his stopwatch to support the team in a new way: volunteer assistant coach. Seeing a different side of the action is challenging, but rewarding nonetheless.

“I realize now what Coach Maus sacrifices everyday for the team. Being a coach requires you to put the team before yourself in every scenario. On the other hand, the feeling of watching athletes that you influence on a daily basis find success far outweighs the feeling of personal success.”

Rosenbaum is nothing but modest and encouraging to the current squad. “I had no reservations passing the torch at the end of my career. I was confident they had the talent and drive to succeed,” he said.

The men’s cross-country team is doing better than ever. “This is the first time since 2009 we’ve been nationally ranked. We are excited about that and the recognition for the program is tremendous,” said Coach Maus.

Nathan graduated in May, yet continues to stay on as a volunteer assistant coach. “I miss everything about it, but I was lucky enough to have four healthy and successful years on the team. I hope that I was able to set a good example for the younger guys and that I left the team in a better place for the future,” Rosenbaum says.

Ohio Northern was, and still is, very lucky to have Rosenbaum on the team.

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