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Monday, December 5, 2022

Cross Country

Megan DeRouen looks toward improvement in sophomore season

Sophomore runner Megan DeRouen is one of only three sophomores on the team. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Sophomore runner Megan DeRouen is one of only three sophomores on the team. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Sophomore runner Megan DeRouen is coming back for her second season with Houston, and to her it means nothing short of improvement.

The runner out of Cypress Creek High School now has a year of collegiate cross country running experience and will look to use that to her advantage in year two.

“It’s fun to see everybody and be back and have more things that I learned last year that I can apply to this year,” DeRouen said. “Going from (high school) to college is a bit different, so everything, including expectations, shift, because it’s a whole different thing now.“

DeRouen is one of many on the Houston cross country team that is currently made up mostly of freshmen and sophomores. This season will put her to the test to see how she will improve on an impressive freshman season with the Cougars. 

Her best event of the year, a sixth place finish at the Houston Spring Break Invitational, saw the Houston native run 2:29.06 in the 800-meter.

Coming back for year two means DeRouen gets to reflect on how things went last season and what she can do to make this year better for herself now that she has experience heading into the cross country season. 

The team is currently constructed mostly by underclassmen. She’s faced with the new challenge of taking a leadership role on the team, especially for the current freshmen and future cross country runners that will come within the next few years. 

DeRouen is one of three sophomores for the Cougars, and she knows she will be one of the few who will be there when the new runners come through.

“For us three sophomores there’s a gap that we have,” DeRouen said. “After this year, it’ll kind of be just us, and we are going to have to shift into new roles. We are trying to become more responsible and be more like leaders, so we know that we are going to have to take that on next year and years after as well.”

DeRouen looks to build on her first season with the Cougars but is focusing on bettering her performances at events where she knew she could have done more.

“I had a pretty poor performance at conference last year,” DeRouen said. “I would like to do better at conference and maybe not get last (on) my team.”

DeRouen also recognized how UH helped her a lot in her first season and why she looks forward to coming back this year.

“I am definitely more appreciative,” DeRouen said. “I don’t think you realize how good of a culture we have around here that (head coach Steve Magness) and some of the girls have set up.”

Seeing all the freshmen become a part of their culture for the first time amazed DeRouen because of how much it reminded her of last years team. 

The Aggie Opener was cancelled due to inclement weather, so the Rice Invitational was everybody’s first look at this year’s cross country teams.

The men struggled, taking fourth place, but the women cruised to a first-place finish. Throughout the course of the season, DeRouen and the team’s performances will show how she has improved from last season to this one. 

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