What was simply just a way to be active for senior Dana Snell eventually turned into a lifelong passion that landed her at the U.
“One day in middle school I decided I was going to try out for the team,” Snell said. “I think my parents were like, ‘You have to do some sort of activity.’ So, I was like, ‘I’ll guess I’ll run.’ Then in high school, I just found a love for it and in college, it grew.”
Running has been a major part of Snell’s time at Utah as she runs both cross country and track for the Utes. The opportunity to run in the Pac-12 was something she couldn’t pass up.
“Competing in the Pac-12 and here at Utah, it’s so amazing to just be able to do what I love every day with people who love it the same as I do,” Snell said.
Snell is a distance runner who participates in the 1,500, 3,000 and the 3,000 steeplechase. The steeplechase is her favorite event, because it doesn’t just involve a flat surface, and it has barriers, such as hurdles and water to work through.
Snell competed in the NCAA Championships for cross-country in the 2016 season, and she placed 246th.
“It was a good experience, great racing and such a big crowd,” Snell said. “But it’s obviously not where I wanted to finish my season. Going into outdoor I really just want to reach all my goals and do better than I did last year.”
She has trained in the heat, slush, snow and windstorms. Those experiences have all helped her become the runner she is today.
As she looks back over the past four years at Utah, it has been the people and coaches that she’ll miss the most after all is said and done.
“We’re all really close, we’re always doing something together,” Snell said of her teammates. “Not going to be around them, or if I go somewhere else, it’ll be weird not having them around”
Another big influence in her time at has been assistant coach McKenzie Wartenberger, better known as “Coach Mack”.
“She’s always there for you,” Snell said. “She’s really hard on you, but she does it to make you better. For me, she knows just what to say and just what to do to get me to where I need to be or where my potential is.”
Being a distance runner has taught Dana that ultimately where she wants to go as a runner and in life is her responsibility.
“You’re responsible for your own success,” Snell said. “I don’t have to rely on someone else either messing up. However hard I train is where I’m going to get.”
When Snell first got to Utah, she was planning on being a nurse. She knew that the program here was one of the best, but things change. She plans on continuing her education and getting a master’s degree in children’s psychology, something that is near and dear to hear heart and family.
“My little brother is in a home right now,” Snell said. “He was adopted and growing up he had a ton of issues and they’re trying to help him. I met with his therapist over Christmas break and they just really inspired me to want to work with kids”
As Snell enjoys her last season as a collegiate runner, she is soaking up the final moments she has at the U.
“I’ve made lifelong friends that are never going anywhere,” Snell said.