Photo by Tommy Valente
With four First Team All-Great American Conference (GAC) honors, junior Nieves Megias is one of the Harding women’s cross-country team’s star players. While she placed ninth, fifth and fourth in previous GAC championship races, Megias ran the 2022 5K championship in 18 minutes and 18 seconds, ranking second. The Harding cross-country team as a whole placed fourth.
Megias has not just been a leader on the track, senior cross-country runner Jada Trice said, but outside it as well.
“It is easy to see that she appreciates having the team not just to train with but as some of her close friends and sisters,” Trice said. “Seeing her train and work hard over these past three years has been very encouraging to me because she always continues to make her best better. Nieves takes pride in the hard work she has done and where she is now, but she continues to rise to the next level with every opportunity that she has.”
Senior teammate Madison Smith said Megias won runner of the week consistently last season, and it was an inspiration to see how hard she worked.
“I don’t think the team would have been the same without her,” Smith said. “She’s a very talented young lady, and she will go places … I’d be surprised we don’t see her name in headlines at some point just because her determination and hard work is unbelievable.”
Megias said head cross-country coach Don Hood has been very supportive both in teaching her how to be a good athlete and how to be a good person and a good Christian. The cross-country team, Megias said, values one another beyond what awards are garnered.
“Everyone cares about what you do, how special you are and the value you have,” Megias said.
Megias also said she thinks the cross-country team has a chance to win the conference next year.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Megias said. “We have a lot of freshmen this year, but I think next season we are going [to] get way better.”
Smith said this year’s group of freshmen are very talented, and she has high hopes for next year as well.“I haven’t been part of a team with this many young members that are this good,” Smith said. “I feel like after leaving, I can come back next year and look at stats, and not a doubt in the world they’ll be doing great.”