Underestimated due to his smaller size, Joseph Meade, redshirt junior for the cross country team, is the embodiment of the underdog story.
“I love comeback stories and underdog stories,” Meade said. “Because I feel like I was the underdog at one point in that everybody was always like ‘Hey, he’s a small guy. He’s not gonna do anything.’ And now I’m at a DI school, competing.”
Raised in a non-athletic household, Meade stood out as the sole athlete of the family. However, Meade’s parents fully support him.
“They definitely support me,” Meade said. “They don’t understand it as much because they’re not very big sports people, but I try to explain it to them as best I can. But they’re there for me. They do what they have to do to get me to the next level.”
Running didn’t become a part of Meade’s life until his junior year of high school. It was a difficult and required adjustment, but Meade eventually settled in.
“I started a little late actually, started my junior year,” Meade said. “I ended up falling in love with it. It took me a while to get used to it. It’s a crazy different sport.”
Meade’s interest in sports stretches beyond cross country. In his younger years he even played football, but, at the end of the day, running was the athlete’s passion.
“I started in football because everyone in Texas has to play football when they’re younger,” Meade said. “I keep up with other sports. I watch a lot of football and things like that, but running is definitely my main passion.”
Meade’s passion for running has brought him success, which is still hard for the Bobcat to wrap his head around.
“Honestly, it’s crazy. I came in, and I didn’t know that running was going to blow up this big,” Meade said. “Finishing in the top 10, I mean it’s very unreal and I’m blessed to say I’ve come this far.”
Admittedly, Texas State was not the runner’s first choice for school. However, after realizing he didn’t fit into the environment of his previous school, he visited San Marcos and Meade was made a Bobcat for life.
“It wasn’t my first choice, I had actually signed to another school,” Meade said. “The area just wasn’t for me and I came here and it felt a lot like home.”
Beyond the environment, Meade’s almost immediate connection with the team played another large factor in his decision to attend Texas State.
“Once me and the team kind of bonded, we meshed instantly,” Meade said. “These are my brothers, and they definitely helped.”
Cross country is a mix of both a team and individual sport. While part of a team, each individual runner still looks out for themselves. Meade fully understands this and chooses to motivate his fellow teammates to give their all while also forcing the best from himself.
“I don’t really look at it from an individual perspective,” Meade said. “I do the best I can in cross country for the team. I want to win a conference title, and I have to be the best.”
Meade is earning his degree in business management, a solid backup plan in his eyes. His number one goal is to take his running to the next level.
“My number one goal is to try to go pro. That’s definitely what I want, what I see,” Meade said.
Meade credits his confidence and his competitive edge to the experiences he’s had while running cross country. It provides him with a stage to prove his skeptics wrong.
“I was always kind of pushed around,” Meade said. “Now I just want to make a name for myself, and every time I race I think of how I used to be versus now. Now I’m someone different. I can stand up for myself and show people what I’ve got. It’s just a fire burning, and it’s been burning since I first started running.”