No one questioning Rodts’ toughness

Published 5:41 pm Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Madie Rodts, seen here celebrating the 2012 national title, helped Grand Valley win back-to-back championship last month. (Submitted photo)

Madie Rodts, seen here celebrating the 2012 national title, helped Grand Valley win back-to-back championship last month. (Submitted photo)

No one can question Madie Rodts’ toughness.

The Niles High School graduate has handled adversity while being a part of a very successful women’s cross country team at Grand Valley State University.

The Laker senior got very sick last year a week before the Division II National Championships.

“I thought it was just a gas bubble,” said Rodts. “I had some very bad stomach pains. I called my mom and handed the phone to my roommate. My roommate rushed me to the hospital and I had an emergency appendicitis.”

Four days later, Rodts was running in the National Championships.

“My doctor looked at me and said I was crazy,” Rodts said. “Our athletic trainer said I was nuts. I said no way I wouldn’t be in the line with my teammates. I was very determined.”

Rodts finished 42nd in that race with a time of 21:25.8. It was the second national championship in the last three years for the Lakers.

“Winning made it sweeter for me,” Rodts said about running so soon after her appendix removed. “I didn’t feel it because I was having such an adrenaline rush. I felt fine. My mind wasn’t on having my appendix out. It was just another challenge for me.”

The first health challenge for Rodts came during her freshman year of college when she had some blood work done.

“I found out that I had an under active thyroid,” Rodts said. “You don’t have the metabolism of a normal person. You have to take medication and be on a strict diet. That was a shocker to me. But that wasn’t going to hold me back. You have a lot less energy if you don’t run. Exercise in general increases your metabolism.”

This season, Rodts has been healthy and her cross country team added more championships.

The top-ranked Lakers won another Division II National title in late November in Spokane, Wash. Grand Valley totaled 54 points, easily outdistancing second place Adams State, which totaled 91 points. Rodts finished 48th with a time of 22:00.

Earlier in the year, the Laker women won their 13th straight Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title. Rodts placed 18th at the meet with a time of 22:59.2.

“It’s amazing and mind blowing,” Rodts said. “When I chose to come here I never expected all this to happen. It’s been a whirlwind. The team is like a family. We’re a tight-nit group.

“Each year we keep accomplishing so much. It’s an amazing program. I credit the coaches, the team and the program directors.”

Individually, Rodts has earned United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic and All-Region honors the last two years.

Rodts, who’s majoring in exercise science with an emphasis in health and fitness with a minor in physical education, has a grade-point average close to 3.5.

“I’ve learned to deal with the different challenges that college presents,” Rodts said. “It made me stronger. I pushed myself and fought through things.

“I love the sport of cross country.”