Senior athlete stories

Melissa Runo 

Since her freshman year, senior Melissa Runo has been an athlete member of the Women’s Lacrosse team here at VWU. Now that she is a senior, she expressed that all these four years went really well but they passed really quick. “You just have to enjoy your time here at school because time flies and four years go by so fast,” Runo said. She also added, “I literally feel that last year I was a freshman.” 

She expressed that all these years have been of growing and learning. “My time here at school has made me grow as a person and made me able to be friends with so many different people,” Runo said. 

Something that will always be with her as part of her experience here at VWU is the “lifetime friends” that she has made. “I will definitely miss my friends and just being here. I love coming to school and being here with everyone, so I definitely will feel weird not coming back next year,” Runo said.  

She also shared that her academic experience here at VWU was really flexible. “The professors are really nice and they are willing to work with you, especially if you are a student athlete, they understand that sometimes you have to miss class for games or practices,” Runo said. 

Reno is an Education Major student here at VWU and after she graduates, she plans on moving here to Virginia Beach and pursuing a career in Educational Services. 


Kayleen Meinen

Senior Kayleen Meinen, who is a member of the Cross Country team here at VWU, expressed that all these years of being a Marlin has definitely changed her life. “Being on campus and interacting with different students and professors has expanded my perspective in terms of what I knew when I entered here and what I know now,” Meinen said. 

She expressed that fond memories “pasta dinners, hyping up each other,and other special moments that I had with them [her teammates],” are something that she will never forget. 

Something that she described as a “bummer” in her years here at VWU was the fact that the 2020 fall season was cancelled. “We had already done our summer training and we were ready for competition in the fall. And then we found out that there was no competition in the fall and we were all really discouraged. Also, because of my senior year this was my last chance.” 

Meinen has created an unique experience throughout all these years by making a balance with her academics and social life. “A good tip that I would give to students is to find a balance. Stay on top of your academics and also connect with the people around you,” Meinen said. 

Meinen is a Environmental Sciences major student and she has an internship with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services. She plans to turn that internship into a full time career once she gets her Master’s Degree. 


Derek Ringer

“Being a Marlin has given me some of my best friends, some of the guys who are gonna be groomsmen in my wedding someday,” said senior Derek Ringer, an infielder for the Marlins baseball team. 

From the beginning, he knew that VWU was going to be a small tight-knit community that supported each other. “It is hard to come to the realization that I won’t see some people I’ve seen just about everyday for the last 4 years,” Ringer said. 

Ringer expressed to the Chronicle that he has experienced great enjoyment here at VWU. “The past 4 years absolutely flew by and I enjoyed every minute of it. The professors do a great job of understanding the grind a student-athlete has to go through and accommodating to us the best they can,” Ringer said. 

He also added that being a student-athlete has been a grind but that it has been worth it. “I love being a part of something that’s bigger than myself and there’s no better example of that than the baseball team,” Ringer said. 

Derek is a business and political science major, currently with some internships opportunities but keeping his options open until he is ready to make a decision.

By Steven Serrano Cruz