The 2017 Western graduate and top Panther runner Josh Everetts has found success in his college career as an athlete at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Everetts, a junior, is currently a top-10 cross country runner for the Jaguars, typically finishing as the sixth or seventh runner for the team. So far, his fastest 8K time was a 26:24.9, which he achieved when he ran at the Bradley “Pink” Classic his sophomore year.
“There was a rather large leap from high school running to college running. I quickly discovered that collegiate runners train with much higher mileage and intensity than what I had known,” Everetts said.
After not seeing much success in the other sports he tried out for, Everetts began his running career at Western Middle School in seventh grade. He didn’t find success that year; however, after hitting a growth spurt and training for most of the following summer, he returned in eighth grade as one of the team’s top runners.
In his freshman year at Western High School, Everetts continued his running career with great mentoring from the upperclassmen and coaches. They helped him enjoy running and to continue on the right path, Everetts said, while also giving him helpful lessons and advice on the sport.
“My high school coach in cross country, Gary Jewell, instilled valuable knowledge about the sport in me and helped shape me into the runner I am today. In addition, my high school swimming coach, Brad Bennett, taught me mental toughness that I still continue to use today.
“I always looked up to local legends Matt Grider and Jeremy Breedlove. Matt was my high school teammate, and Jeremy became my teammate in college. They were by far the fastest runners around, both in cross country and track. I knew when I saw them competing for All-State honors in both sports that I wanted to be just like them,” Everetts said.
To cap off his career as a Panther, Everetts ran his best cross country 5K time of 16:09.5 at the sectional meet in Logansport and additionally placed sixth in the 1600-meter run at the state track meet. His other fond memories of running at Western were eating Fazoli’s or Mike’s Pizza religiously with the team before every meet and also dethroning West Lafayette at the track conference and regaining the sectional title.
Unsure of where he wanted to attend college but knowing he wanted to run and attend graduate school, Everetts found IUPUI among other options and has never looked back.
“Going into my senior year, I hardly had an idea of where I wanted to go. All I knew was that I wanted to run and go to graduate school. After taking numerous college visits, I found IUPUI on a chance notice. On my visit, I fell in love with the campus and with Indianapolis. From there, it just kind of clicked,” Everetts said.
According to Everetts, he believes the IUPUI team has been doing great so far, including getting second place at the Butler Twilight, third at the Crusader Open, eighth at the John McNichols Invitational, and eighth at the Joe Piane Invitational. With a new coach on board for the Jaguars, the program continues to thrive. During this part of the season, the team was training to peak for the conference and regional meets in November. Everetts said he thinks a lot of the top runners will be PR'ing in the next few meets.
In his freshman year at IUPUI, Everetts was the anchor leg for the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) in track, and the relay team placed first at the Horizon League Conference Championships. The following year, the relay team broke the school record for the same event.
Now as a junior, Everetts tries to be a good leader for the underclassmen, cheering them on during races and helping them achieve their academic and athletic goals. Currently, he runs the 8K in cross country, and the 1500-meter run, 3K, and 5K in track.
“Running has been an empowering outlet for me. I get to relieve my stress and worries and simply just enjoy the day. Some of my best memories stem from a conversation or misadventure that occurred on a long run. In addition, the running community is a close-knit one, and I often catch myself cheering for friends I've met through running in races where they are competitors,” Everetts said.
At IUPUI, Everetts studies economics with plans to attend law school after graduation. In addition to excelling as sports, Everetts is skilled in other areas as well. He can solve a Rubik's Cube in less than 30 seconds and cook a "mean" lasagna, he said.