In the Batchelor family — If you’ll pardon the pun — runners run in the family. At MHS, Nick, James, and Ashlynn Batchelor are some of the top athletes on the cross country team. Their hard work and dedication are obvious, but maybe their secret is good genes.
Their mother, Laurie Fox Batchelor, was just inducted into the University of Mary Marauder’s Hall of Fame on October 9, in Bismarck, North Dakota. Laurie was selected because she is one of the top distance runners in UMary history. She is a six-time NAIA All-American, including three times in cross country, and was instrumental in helping the Marauders achieve a pair of top-eight national finishes. In her junior year, she lifted UMary to a fourth place finish – their highest ever– in the national championships.
Laurie was a two-time North Dakota high school state champion and, according to UMary, her list of accolades also includes two-time North Dakota College Athletic Conference (NDCAC) title winner, the NDCAC Most Valuable Graduating Senior, and UMary MVP in cross country four times. She also served as team captain two seasons.
Laurie says, “The Hall of Fame award is special to me because of all of the hard work that went into my sport. It’s the highest honor you can receive from your university in sports and my whole family, including my parents, was able to attend the ceremony.”
The induction coincided with the university’s 2021 Homecoming weekend and Laurie says the football game brought back a lot of memories of Homecoming years ago. Memories of running cross country weren’t far behind. She says some of her favorite cross country memories include team meals. She also recalls running in Sibley Park at 5:30 a.m. which she characterized as “shared pain by all.”
She had the support of both of her sisters, though, as the three of them had run cross country and track together in high school in Jamestown and continued running together at the university. She says she is still marveling at how their coach, Coach Thorson, only wore a windbreaker, even in 30-degree-below weather.
Laurie graduated from the University of Mary with a master’s degree in physical therapy and now works at Big Stone Therapies. Her work there seems to be a natural extension of her athletic talents as she says, “One of the biggest changes I see in the sport of cross country is the improved care for injured athletes.” Nowadays, though, she says, she and her husband, Chris, usually bike instead of run with their kids. “They’ve definitely outpaced us!”
“I try to help them with advice and training, especially in the summertime when they strive to build up their mileage. With experience, they each have been able to figure out their own racing style.”
She has also started volunteering with the Bulldog cross country team. “This is the first year I have been able to do this, and I am very excited to help in any way I can.”
With South Dakota’s State High School Cross Country Meet coming up on Saturday, October 23, we can expect to see more awards for the team and the Batchelor family.
Photo: Chris, James, Nick, Laurie and Ashlynn