For many college athletes, balancing schoolwork and athletics can be a challenge, but for Roxanne Cook PZ ’13, that is only half the battle. Along with running cross country and track, Cook, a theater major, spends three hours every night in rehearsal. Still, she manages to excel at all she does, juggling her hectic schedule with poise and a spirited sense of humor.
A former cheerleader, Cook had only run briefly in high school when she joined cross country her first year. She caught on to running with ease, leading many to wonder if the rumors of her superpowers were true. Now, Cook says she loves running and looks forward to running with her teammates every day. She has been a top runner for the Sagehens since her auspicious beginning and continues to improve. Two weeks ago at the UC Riverside Invitational, she ran the sixth-fastest six-kilometer time in Pomona-Pitzer history.
On the track, Cook specializes in the 800-meter and 1,500-meter races. She finished tenth in the 1,500 at the SCIAC championships last spring and seventh in 2011. Although Cook is a laid-back person, she competes with ferocity. Few witnesses can forget the primal scream she let out while finishing an 800-meter race during the 2012 season.
“[Cook] can do it all. She is always on the move, from class to rehearsal to running practice, or over to L.A. for an audition. She is so deeply involved in many things, yet manages to give her all in whatever she’s doing,” said Kirk Reynolds, Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field.
Cook’s ability to juggle her commitments will be put to the test in October when she will run in the SCIAC Cross Country Championships before zooming back to school for the opening night of Kindertransport. Fortunately, she is used to the pressure. She has had several lead roles in Claremont theater productions, and her resume includes numerous professional acting jobs, including a stint as a chorus member in The Book of Mormon this past summer.
Perhaps the key to Cook’s success is her ability to find parallels between running and acting. Both activities require “training discipline, physical stamina and mental focus,” Cook said.
She “loves the process of breaking down a character, discovering their motivation and objectives and then bringing that character to life in an authentic way,” Cook said of acting.
When she acts, she must think about what a character is experiencing each second.
“Similarly, running involves what the runner is feeling and experiencing in each moment, responding kinetically to the environment and living in the moment of the race. Both running and acting are about taking the big risk and then seeing what happens,” she said.
This fall is Cook’s last season competing for P-P. She plans to graduate early and bring her considerable talents to the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.