Hard work pays off for Facio as he excels for the Storm


by Gunnar Davis, Sports Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — An athlete’s success in their sport can be defined by the dedication and hard work put in outside of competition. This is true for sophomore cross-country runner Jonathan Facio.

At Clinton High School, Facio never made it to the state cross country meet. At Simpson, he finished 88th as a freshman in the 2016 IIAC conference meet. This year he earned all-conference honors, placing 15th at the conference meet — a 73 spot improvement.

“Making all-conference this year, first of all, it was really exciting,” Facio said. “I didn’t expect to do that well.”

His goal going into the meet was to place in the top 25

“I was just feeling really good and I just told myself I have no reason to hold myself back from anything,” Facio said. “I just focused really hard on trying to compete with whoever was next to me, and it worked out.”

Facio’s success at Simpson almost wasn’t possible. The graphic design and journalism double major didn’t go out for cross country his freshman year of high school, and he only went out his sophomore year to stay in shape for soccer. But his passion for the sport kept him out and eventually propelled him to attend Simpson.

In his first year at Simpson, Facio almost didn’t go out for cross country or track and field.

“It really scared me to compete with people much faster than me,” Facio said.

But Facio stuck with it and is now reaping the benefits of his hard work.

“To me it means that it’s always a work in progress,” Facio said. “It’s really nice to see that I might’ve started where I was and I’ve come so far. There’s still so much further to go.”

Senior Ian McKenzie also earned all-conference honors and recently qualified for nationals with his performance at the regional meet on Nov. 11. Facio said he’s learned a lot from his teammate.

“Ian’s a good example of somebody who, not only does the work hard during practice, but outside of practice he does all of the little things that I’ve started to incorporate this year,” Facio said. “He has the right attitude about running. Ian tries to have fun and work hard at the same time, and that’s something I try to incorporate as well.”

While Facio is happy with his performances, he’s not satisfied. He has some goals for the next two years of his career with the Storm.

“Eventually it would be a goal for me to make all-region, which is top 35 at the regional meet. I was 44th this year,” Facio said. “Improving times always feels good, so that would be nice as well.”

Facio is happy he chose Simpson and looks forward to the years that come.

“It’s nice to know that I can have that improvement,” Facio said. “I definitely couldn’t have the progression that I’ve had on any other team than this one.”