Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Running across the country

Craig Hundley II
Craig Hundley II runs on his way to a 25:31.4 at the UWRF River Town Twilight

UW-Whitewater Men’s Cross Country star Craig Hundley II is not your typical athlete. 

He ran his first two seasons with the Carthage Redbirds, making history as the second NCAA Championship qualifier in school history. He qualified in 2022, running a 27:03.5 8K at Forest Akers Golf Course (East Lansing, Michigan), good enough for 244th at the event.

Now, he gives an already high-powered UWW team another star runner in a push for their first championship win in school history. Hundley shared his thoughts on transferring, his training as a cross country runner, and more.


Q: How have your two dominant meet wins so far motivated you for upcoming meets?

A: Everybody is motivated in different ways. I’m motivated by looking at my teammates and knowing that they’re sacrificing a lot to be on this team, so I have to sacrifice just as much. Even if it’s not the most talented field out there, it’s still nice to go up and show the Division III nation what we’re about. After every meet, we say ‘alright, this meet’s over’ and move onto next week. That’s where our mindset is at. 


Q: What are the hardest courses to train for in your opinion?

A: I would say it’s our home course, actually. There’s a huge hill that we call Killer Hill, where you just go straight up and then straight down. You definitely feel that the next day. When I first ran the course, I was intimidated, but doing it as a team and my teammates telling me what steps to take and when to be ready to surge up the hill helps. I used to hate it at first, but now I don’t mind it.


Q: Did you garner most of your college interest after your 5th place finish at the IHSA 2A Cross Country Championships?

A: That race helped everything. I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t even thinking about running in college at first. Carthage College and North Central College were the two that reached out immediately. Ever since then, it’s been a blessing to take what I didn’t think I was gonna do and bring it to college. I chose Carthage because North Central is probably one of the greatest running schools that Division III has ever seen, and I kind of just saw myself as another number instead of an individual on the team. Carthage told me it was my time to take the reins, so I saw that as an opportunity not only for myself but for all of Carthage.


Q: Why did you transfer from Carthage to UW-Whitewater?

A: The one reason I tell everyone the most is that Carthage was too small for my liking. It felt like a high school, and I wasn’t getting the best opportunities there. I thought I knew every single person on campus within two years of being there. Justin Krause reached out to me out of nowhere, we just started chatting, and eventually he told me ‘hey, if you ever think about leaving Carthage, we would love to have you. We know where your talent is at.’ We just talked for two straight summers nonstop, and he got me here. I owe it all to Justin for sure.


Q: How has the environment changed since you arrived on campus?

A: It’s changed a decent amount. At first, it seemed like everyone was at Carthage just to have fun, but as the years progressed, I could tell that people started to take it more seriously, especially when we had certain captains leading the team. As soon as I got to Whitewater, it was the same thing. They’re here to do something and there’s no messing around. We can have our fun, but we’re here to make history for coach Miller. It wasn’t a huge change, but it got a lot more serious.


Q: How do you mentally and physically prepare to run courses?

A: Mentally, I try to tune out as much pressure or anxieties I may face before by listening to music. Usually we go over it as a team, look at videos of the course, and break down every turn, overall learning what moves you need to make and where they need to be made. It’s helped a ton in preparation because you’re not going into it blindly. Physically, we don’t do intense workouts the week of a meet, but when we have a week or two gap without a meet, we go all in. We had five-mile repeats which was pretty tough, but the tougher the workout the better.


Q: Do you have any personal goals for times?

A: This may sound cliche, but I honestly don’t care about times. I just care about placing as high as I can for the team. I always put the team before me. While individual success is cool, I feel like that time has passed, and I’m just running out there for the guys.


Hundley and the men’s cross country team opened up their season with two meet wins at the UW-River Falls Invitational and the Tom Hoffman Invitational. With now less than two months until the NCAA Championships, the team now prepares to tackle the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invitational at Whitetail Golf Course Sept. 29.

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About the Contributor
Chase Keller
Chase Keller, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

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  • S

    Shelbee HundleyOct 4, 2023 at 11:06 am

    We are just so proud of you, Craig!!! You continue to amaze us.