PALATINE, Ill. – Harper cross country and track and field athletes John Majerus (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) and Jordy Arriaga (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling) formed a close bond during the 2015 track and field season. The two sophomores ran the same events and produced very similar results throughout the season.
The two will continue their athletic careers together, as they both recently committed to Judson University in Elgin.
Judson University is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC).
|Majerus (left) and Arriaga (right) will both continue their collegiate careers at Judson University in Elgin. (Photo Courtesy of Digital Sports Photography, Herkimer, NY)|
Both Majerus and Arriaga are two-time national champions in cross country as they were a part of the 2013 and 2014 NJCAA DIII Men's Cross Country National Championship teams. In 2014, Majerus earned All-American honors at the national meet with a ninth place finish. He credits Harper coaches Jim Macnider and Eric Wallor for knocking 4 ½ minutes off his 8K time in just one year. His respect for them goes much deeper than improved times.
"Basically everything I've done in running, I can attribute to Coach Macnider and Coach Wallor," Majerus said. "I came from playing different sports in high school. They welcomed me in with no experience, found out that I had potential, and worked with me to reach that potential."
After the back-to-back championships in cross country, Majerus and Arriaga trained and competed against each other this spring on the track. The two ran the same events (800m, 1500m, 4x800m) and gave the Hawks a major boost at the 2015 NJCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championship for a Hawks team that took second place.
They each ran a leg of the 4x800m relay and helped the Hawks to a third place finish and six valuable points. At 1500 meters, Majerus placed fifth in the nation while Arriaga took sixth place to earn a combined seven points. Finally, at 800 meters, Arriaga captured seventh place, and his teammate was right behind in eighth place. Harper scored 98 points in the meet and edged Montgomery College (91 points) for runner-up honors.
"Going with Jordy (to Judson) is something I'm really excited about, too," Majerus said. "He became like a brother this season."
Majerus and Arriaga will be joining former Harper standout runner Nick Modlin (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling), who committed to Judson just over a year ago. Majerus enjoyed his visit to Judson and says the team seems like it'll be a good team to run with. He also pointed to the fact that Judson provides very specific guidance with internship placement as a key factor in his decision to attend the school.
Majerus graduated from Harper as a N4C Academic All-Conference student-athlete for two years with a 3.39 GPA and an Associate in Arts degree and Associate in Science degree. He plans on majoring in accounting at Judson (JU).
Arriaga, who plans on majoring in biochemistry at JU and wants to get into physical therapy, was also drawn to the school initially after talking to Modlin in the fall of 2014.
"After half way into the spring semester, Judson started to become a really affordable option for me with a great, strong, and young team of runners who are passionate about running," he said.
Much like Majerus, Arriaga touted the Harper coaching staff and how instrumental to his experience they were.
"Coaching at Harper was an amazing experience that revived my running spirit long gone after my high school years," Arriaga said.
He also credits Macnider and Wallor for getting him interested in physical therapy because it involves exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Arriaga also hopes to become an assistant coach at the university level during his grad school years.
Arriaga is grateful for his experiences at Harper and optimistic about his future at Judson.
"I will definitely miss the people and the cross country and track and field environment I experienced during my time there, which was also the part I enjoyed the most, especially when people supported me no matter what," he said. "I'm very excited to meet new people and make new bonds just like at Harper. I'm excited to put myself to the test and see how I fair at the NAIA level."