Inside look at a fifth-year, two-sport athlete

Paige Holub is currently in her fifth and final season at UNI as a cross country runner and a distance runner on the track & field team.


Paige Holub is currently in her fifth and final season at UNI as a cross country runner and a distance runner on the track & field team.

Jordan Simon, Guest Writer

Paige Holub didn’t always have the aspirations to become a college runner, but, as she grew older and her love for running continued to grow, it became clear she couldn’t let her career end. Being a successful Division I athlete in just one sport is no easy task, and the endeavor of being a multi-sport collegiate athlete proves to be even harder.  Dedicated, hard working and committed are a short list of characteristics to define Paige Holub. 

“Track and cross country give me a sense of belonging, especially in college,” Holub said. “Since I no longer live with my family, my teammates have become my family.” The tight knit community and at-home feel is what drew Holub to UNI from the beginning. 

During high school, Holub visited UNI, Iowa State and Iowa with the intent to join their running programs. In the end she chose to become a Panther. “I feel like UNI is just a smaller environment team-wise and coaches, overall just more personable and that’s really why I chose UNI,” Holub explained. 

The fifth-year senior is a distance runner for the track and field team, as well as the cross country team. She is the daughter of Larry and Renee Holub and is originally from Monticello, Iowa. In 2018, she graduated from Monticello High School as one of the school’s most decorated athletes. She participated in basketball, track and field, and cross country, but her athleticism shined the brightest while in her running shoes. All four years of high school Holub was voted All-Conference, All-District and All-State, while holding the 4×800-meter relay school record. 

Sports aren’t the only aspect of life in which Holub has been successful, as she also thrives in the classroom. She is a triple major in human resource management, marketing and psychology. In years past, she has received honors such as Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) track and field scholar athlete, MVC honor roll and the MVC Commissioner’s Excellence Award of 3.5 GPA or higher. 

“My goal after college is to get a job in HR. I really like talent acquisition,” Holub said. “You know we’re not all going to be professional athletes after college, so my career is really important to me.” Finding the balance to be a working student athlete has challenged her to grow as a student, a runner and a regular college kid. But heading into her fifth-year season, she still has high goals of how she wants to cap off her career. Holub said all-conference in the mile is her end goal, and maybe even qualifying for Midwest Outdoor Regionals.

As her journey is coming to a close in the near future, it’s intriguing to realize where it all began. Back in Monticello when Holub was growing up, her mom ran road races for a hobby. In middle school, she made the decision to run next to her mom in just a simple mile long race, but the impact of this race still lingers on today. “I won it, so I thought ‘oh this is cool, I’m good at this’ so I just kept doing it.”

This mentality led Holub to soar at UNI. She has collected an All-Conference title at the 2021 MVC Indoor Championships in the distance medley relay and the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:58.52. In Holub’s senior year she placed 42nd at the MVC Cross Country Championships, clocking in a time of 23:04.8. But to her, the times and rankings aren’t the most important thing to her in college sports. The connections have created a unique pathway for her.

“There’s really so many impacts. I would say the people that I’ve met and the connections that I’ve made. Not only team-wise, the coaches, and even other competitors as well. It led me down some different avenues,” Holub said when asked how college sports have impacted her personally.

Coming back for a fifth year wasn’t a hard decision for Holub. UNI, her teammates and the community surrounding her have left an enormous impact on her. “Why enter into a job when I have the rest of my life to work? I might as well run as long as I can because I love it,” Holub said. Even with the crazy schedule of a working two-sport athlete, Holub’s humbled and dedicated character keeps her determined,  “I love track… the community is just awesome. I mean it’s my fifth year here, so I’ve loved it enough to stick around longer.”