AA: Meet our Cross Country Mavericks

Jimmy Balmer ran at UTA from 1988-93.

Oct. 1, 2013

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Welcome to the first installment of Meet our Mavericks. Each month, we will be spotlighting Mavericks from a specific sport. This will be a question-and-answer session with our Athletic Alumni and current student-athletes. We hope you enjoy getting to know our Mavericks, seeing what our Alumni are doing now, and getting to know our current Mavericks.

This month we are highlighting our Cross Country student-athletes.

Meet Jimmy Balmer, Class of 1993
Q: Jimmy, When did you run at the University of Texas at Arlington?
A: I ran at UTA from 1988-1993. I had to red-shirt one year due to an injury.

Q: What are you doing now?
A: I am currently in my 18th year working for Dow Jones. I live in Yardlay, PA, with my wife, and UTA Alumnae, Michelle. We have two daughters (Bailey, 13 and Alyssa, 11).  After college, I quit running until 2009, but now I run ultra-marathons and have ran across the Grand Canyon.

Q: What's an ultra-marathon?
A: Technically, it's anything over a marathon, which is 26.2 miles. I've competed in some 50ks (31.1 miles), 50 milers, and some 100 milers.

Q: What was your time in the 100 miler?
A: I ran the 100 miler in 20 hours and 18 minutes. I'm probably the proudest of my 50 miler time of 7 hours and 23 minutes.

Q: What is your fondest memory while being at UTA?
A: On a personal level, it would be meeting my wife, Michelle. From an athletic perspective, it would have to be winning the individual conference title in 1991, followed by the team conference titles in both indoor and outdoor track & field.

Q: Having been in their shoes a few years ago, what advice would you give to our current student-athletes?
A: Make sure you leave with no regrets. Make sure that you have done everything you could during your time here. 

Q: Do you still follow the cross country team?
A:  I still keep up with John (Sauerhage), the team, and the university. I was very impressed with last year's team that won the WAC cross country championship. I look forward to seeing how they do this year.

Meet Frida Rosenberg, Class of 2000
Q: What made you decide to attend the University of Texas at Arlington and to compete here?
A: I knew Katja Anderson, a former UTA Athlete who is also from Sweden. She was able to tell me a lot about the University, living in Texas, and Coach Sauerhage. I also did my research and was very impressed with the Architecture education that UTA had to offer.

Q: What are you doing now?
A: I am a practicing architect, educator and researcher currently pursuing a PhD in history and theory at the School of Architecture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden where I am teaching architecture and doing a PhD. I just got married this past summer and am a proud mother of two children. I am still competing in the sport that I love. I have competed in various triathlons and am competing in a 30 kilometer (18.6 miles) this weekend (Sept. 28). After I left UTA, I stopped running individual, but continued competing in Adventure Races.

Q: How did the University of Texas at Arlington help you get to where you are now?
A: UTA gave me the education to attain my career goals. It also gave me the foundation to continue competing in my sport. If I hadn't attended UTA, I probably wouldn't be competing in races now. UT Arlington played an integral part in my first teaching opportunity in Sweden. UTA had a teacher exchange program with Lund University, and through my connections with professors at UTA, they recommended me for a job. That turned out to be my first teaching job.

Q: What is your fondest memory of UTA?
A: I have so many fond memories of UTA including winning multiple team conference championships. What stands out the most in my mind is traveling to compete at meets and being with my teammates; just learning the value of companionship among athletes who love to compete in the same sport. It's something that I cherish to this day, the companionship of my teammates and the lifelong friendships that I made.

Q: What advice would you give to our current student-athletes?
A: Enjoy your time as an athlete at UTA. Even when you are tired and dragging to practice and don't feel like training, embrace the spirit of being able to compete. Train with a smile on your face and enjoy being able to be with teammates who want to train and compete the way you do.

Meet Ryan Tilotta, Class of 2015
Q: What made you attend UT Arlington?
A: I started out at Stephen F. Austin, but decided to transfer after they experienced a coaching change. I was looking at a lot of various schools but decided on UTA after looking at the roster. I knew some of the runners and knew that we would have a chance to win a WAC Championship, which we did last year.

Q: What is your major and what do you hope to accomplish by attaining it?
A: I am a majoring in criminal justice with a minor in accounting. I am hoping to get hired into the FBI after I graduate.

Q: What did earning a varsity letter and receiving the Letterwinner Jacket mean to you?
A: It was very exciting to return to school and find out that we being awarded the jackets (and blanket, watch, and ring in the future). I think it will increase competition among athletes on teams, because they will want to earn the Letter and receive that gift. As an athlete, I want to compete and be my best for the University, and I want people on campus to see that. I think this is just another way that they will know we compete for UTA.

Q: What legacy do you hope to leave at UT Arlington?
A:  I hope that our team can continue to win championships. Having the chance to win the WAC is what brought me to UTA, and we did that last year. As a team, we have set the goal to win the Sun Belt. Our most important goal is to make it to the national championship. Can you imagine UTA making it to that level? It would be really cool to accomplish that goal.

Q: Tell us something unique about you.
A: When I complete my degree at UTA, I will be the first person in my entire family to graduate college. I'm very proud of that and look forward to accomplishing that for my family.

Meet Alison Williams, Class of 2018
Q: What has been the biggest adjustment from high school to college?
A:  High school seemed like a lot of babysitting from the teachers. I was really independent and that always bothered me. The classes at the university allow for more independence; I can work ahead if I want to. I enjoy the independence the professors give while still holding us accountable for our work. 

My family is a very tight-knit group. It has been an adjustment living away from them, but I live with my best friend who was already attending UTA so that has made things a lot easier. Plus, it has allowed me to grow so much already in a short amount of time.

Q: As a freshman, you were able to attend the Letterwinner Ceremony and see your teammates receive their jacket. What are your thoughts about the Letterwinner Awards?
A: The Letterwinner Ceremony was great, even though a lot of us weren't exactly sure what was going on at the time. I think it will promote growth in school spirit outside of athletics. Hopefully, we will gain more support when people see our athletes wearing the Letterwinner Jackets once the weather gets colder. It will also drive our current student-athletes more because we all want to earn the Letterwinner awards.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your time at UT Arlington?
A: Multiple conference championships. I look at our team and want to help us win Conference Championships in both Cross Country and Track and Field. I want to improve every year as an individual and hope that I can eventually become an All-American and to make it to the National Championship. I also hope to help establish a Canadian Influence at UTA and help the recruiting pipeline. I looked at multiple schools during the recruiting process (Stanford, Kentucky, San Diego State University), but UT Arlington just felt like home when I came to visit. I know that my friends will feel the same way if the come to visit. They are coming up through the ranks and are very good runners. I hope that I can help get them here as teammates.

Q: Tell us something unique or interesting about yourself?
A: Both of my parents were Professional Athletes and competed in the Olympics (1984, 1988, 1992) for Team Canada, so running is in my genes. Even with my parents history, running has been completely my choice. They are incredibly supportive, and my mother has coached me, but neither of my parents forced running on me or any of my siblings. I started off playing soccer but changed to running. I fell in-love with running and winning and have focused on it ever since then.




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