On The Prowl, Ready To Eat 

Senior runner Hayden Schindler’s work ethic has led him to the biggest race of his life 
Hayden Schindler set a school record in the 1,00o-meter run at the George Mason Patriot Games in January.
Hayden Schindler set a school record in the 1,00o-meter run at the George Mason Patriot Games in January.
Sabina Moran

Hayden Schindler entered his freshman year at Pikesville High School thinking he would play prep soccer.  

Schindler’s hopes of playing on the pitch faded soon after, but he quickly caught on with the school’s cross country team. That is when he began to turn his focus to what has defined him since then. 


While at PHS, Schindler learned to run long distance, participating in many 5k and 10k running events. He was eventually discovered by then-Stevenson assistant coach Nick Shaw, who came out to one of Schindler’s high school races. This was the first time that any university devoted time towards scouting Schindler, who took that to heart. He knew then and there that there could be something special between him and Stevenson cross country. 

“That was the deciding factor of coming to Stevenson,” Schindler said this week as he prepares for Saturday’s NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Region Championships. “I felt like I was already at home without even ever being at Stevenson outside of the campus visits.” 

The Mustangs saw Schindler’s potential immediately. Assistant coach Idriss Idriss was blown away when Schindler completed a 15miler as one of his first runs as a Mustang. 

“It takes a certain mental strength to be able to be on the track running 400-meter intervals for 15 miles,” Idriss said. “That was one of the building blocks that showed he can reach those heights in this sport.” 

The Mustangs enjoyed Schindler’s company and commitment to Stevenson right away, especially his longtime teammate and friend, senior Jonathan Womack, who considers he and Schindler inseparable. 

Hayden Schindler with his Stevenson teammates at a recent meet. Photo by Sabina Moran

“I remember seeing him commit to Stevenson with the green (clothes) and green Crocs, and I was like ‘I already love this guy!’” Womack said of when he first met Schindler. “You get these people in your life, and it’s like ‘this man is gonna be my brother.’ We all go through things, but you are still going to be brothers. There’s nothing that can beat that.”  

While Schindler’s goals have constantly changed during his career, what hasn’t changed is the goal of simply wanting to be something and mean something for Stevenson cross country. 

“I remember first coming here my goal was to be one of the top seven for the team, and now it has slowly transitioned into being ‘I want to be the best on the team,’” he said. “Eventually, it was ‘why be the best on the team when I can be the best in the conference?’”  

He can check all of those boxes. The 21-year-old senior is now one of the most recognized runners at both Stevenson University and in the entire Middle Atlantic Conference. He is Stevenson’s male runner of the year, he was selected to the All-MAC first team, and he placed fifth in the MAC championships. His time of 27:08:4 at the MAC championships was the best by a Mustang at the 8k championship event since Patrick Watson in 2019. 

Womack says that the entire MAC conference knows about Schindler now. Everyone talks about him now. They understand that every time that he shows up to a race, that he could literally run away with first place. Early in his career, Schindler wasn’t sure he’d get to this point.  

“There are so many athletes who run their four years, do their time, and go to their office job,” Schindler said. “[Last spring] was when I really saw this big jump [in my career].”  

Schindler appreciates the recognition that he has received, but he adds that he does not Want everyone else to forget the work put in by his teammates that makes the program operate. 

“My hard work is being appreciated by the people at Stevenson, but I would like to just keep performing, keep giving them reasons to recognize our program as a whole rather than just me. There are so many athletes who are constantly working day in and day out, and they deserve the recognition too.” 

In football, a quarterback can practice throwing to his receivers. In baseball, a batter can work on his swing in batting practice. Cross country and track are not sports where you can practice a certain skill repeatedly. So, while Schindler’s training routine consists of more long and vigorous early morning runs, he primarily focuses on staying healthy. He focuses on nutrition and eight hours of sleep a night, but he also prioritizes his mental health. 

“Being in charge of your mental health [is important],” he said. “Having control of understanding that not every workout is going to be good, and you’re going to have bad races. The biggest thing is brushing it off and focusing on what you can control. That is nutrition, sleep recovery, all of those different aspects of running.” 

Every single year, I realized I had more and more to give, more and more to show.

— Hayden Schindler

If you ask Schindler if he is satisfied with his resume to this point, he will say no. Schindler remains anxious for more, saying that he pushes himself by remaining unsatisfied.  

“[I’ve had] these goals of constantly wanting more, never being satisfied,” he said. “I think that is what has really pushed me into being a better athlete. I think that played a big role in my transition throughout my years at Stevenson. Every single year, I realized I had more and more to give, more and more to show.” 

Schindler also stated disappointment with how last season ended, adding that he is goal driven to not let it happen again. 

“There’s definitely a mindset change from this year to last year where last season, I was not really happy with how my track season ended,” he said, “and I took that really personally. It made me really goal drive in the summer to be like ‘all right, cool. When I get back in the fall, they’re going to have to see me. They’re going to see me up there on the front and they’re going to have to acknowledge that I am there.  

“I feel like every race I run, I have something to prove,” he continued. “Last year, I was running as a member of the team. This year, I have something to prove.”  

Hayden Schindler is preparing to run in the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Region cross country meet at Susquehanna University on Saturday, Nov. 11. Photo by Sabina Moran

Schindler puts in the work, and his peers have taken notice. His work ethic and his personality has been infectious, and he stands out as a leader for Stevenson track and field. Schindler says he leads by example.  

“I can set a example for [my teammates] and tell them that I would never tell them to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself,” Schindler said. “When I leave, I want [my teammates] to understand that if they put the time in, then they can be as successful as they want to be.” 

His leadership has even branched out to the women’s team. 

“Hayden is very supportive of [the women’s team],” said first-year runner Olivia Grimes. “He tries his best to talk to us and include us in everything. At MACs, I did not do very well, but he was still there screaming for me and pushing me to keep going. I think he is a very good leader ad he knows how to push people when they need it.” 

Idriss was Schindler’s teammate in 2021 when Schindler was a first-year student, and he has seen the level of commitment from Schindler continue to grow and intensify over the years. He says that Schindler has simply been “doing all the right things” 

“Everyone wants to say they always do the training, but when you go home during the summer and you’re kind of on your own, you do not have your teammates, it is really hard,” said Idriss, who has a similar path in Schindler after switching from soccer to track. “Sometimes you might skip a couple runs, you might not do everything you’re supposed to be doing. He’s been doing it.”  

Idriss believes that Schindler’s private training put him in a good position for the 2023 season once everybody returned in the fall.

“You could tell when he came in this year, he was ready to rock and roll.” 

Womack describes Schindler as a lion on the prowl. 

“He goes in like ‘there’s food, and I’m ready to eat,’” Womack said. 

Schindler will certainly be ready to eat this Saturday, as he and six runners from the women’s team prepare to compete in the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. Schindler says that he will maintain the same preparation routine that he has used for every other race this season.  

“I’m just going to try to get a good night’s sleep, hydrate, make sure I am eating the right things, and then it’s go time,” Schindler said. “This is the one race that matters the most of all of the other races. I’ve done it before, I’ve won a race before, I’ve been top 20, I know what it feels like to be in this type of position. Now, it is time to execute. This is what we have been working for all season.” 

Depending on how he finishes, this could potentially be his last race as a Mustang. How time does fly by; a career nearing its end and a beloved member of the Stevenson track and field community soon to depart. This has yet to hit Schindler, and he has not even thought of not making it to nationals. Schindler’s eyes are on the prize right now, not the end just yet. 

“It is a really important race for me,” he said. “It could be my last race but I’m hoping that there is still one more in me.”

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Grant DeVivo
Grant DeVivo, Sports Editor
Grant is a senior from Westminster, Maryland. He has served as the Villager's sports editor since 2022-23 after being on staff in 2021-22. He attended Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore before coming to Stevenson. He has internship experience with both Glenn Clark Radio and the Baltimore Orioles. He also plays catcher and third base for the Stevenson Mustang club baseball team.
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