Morgan Casey Big 12
Morgan Casey at the Big 12 Cross Country Championships Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. Copyright 2010 Brody Schmidt/www.Ostatephoto.com.

Editor's note: Northeast alumna Morgan Casey is a sophomore on the Iowa State cross country and track teams.

Bix weekend is fast approaching, which means it's a good time to bring back the blog. Earlier this summer, there was far too much to do in far too little time to write a blog worth reading.

First, there was a summer online math class to take. To make myself useful, I will advise other students to never consider taking an online math course. I figured since it was only college algebra, it shouldn't be much harder than high school algebra, right? Wrong. In high school, you always have a teacher. In college, you get a really vague textbook. Here is a look at Morgan's typical six-hour day of mathematics.

Textbook: The expansion of (x-2)^6 contains 60x^4. Do you see why?

Me: No, textbook, I don't see why. If you could tell me though, that would be great.

Textbook: Nothing.

Me: (Sarcastically) Super.

But it wasn't all work and no play. There were also family trips to be taken, and much running to be done. Which I suppose the running is work, but it's play too.

I have nearly doubled my mileage from what I was running a year ago, and this weekend's Bix should be a tangible way to see how the increase has paid off. Getting an elite seed would have been pretty cool, and it would have cut down on some of the early-race traffic, but unfortunately without a 10K time to submit I wasn't able to snag one of those sacred race numbers.

Not that I am going to let that deter me from still having a good time. In fact, sometimes it's nice to see nothing but a sea of other runners at the start. The vast tidal wave of runners hides the sea monster that is Brady Street Hill.

Elite or not, I just look forward to having fun and seeing how well I can do. I will also be running in memory of others.

Jed Rogis and Kristin Hanrahan, two local teens recently killed in a car accident, will be on my mind as I cover the race course on Saturday. Jed was my classmate since kindergarten, and I will never forget Jed as the boy with the cute smile who was a talented athlete, could make anyone laugh, and most of all, was a loyal friend. Jed was someone everyone could easily love and trust.

Kristin was my teammate in middle school and high school, and I will remember Kristin as the girl who was always honest. Kristin knew who she was, and her determination would never let you down. Once when Kristin was hurdling, she fell, got back up, and made a wisecrack about something (most likely coach Healy). We laughed, and then she ran another set of hurdles.

The lone survivor of the accident, Justin Sparks, is not forgotten in all of the sadness either. Justin, I can't even imagine what you must be going through right now, but if anyone is strong enough to make it through, it's you. Hang in there. Your family's support, prayers of your friends, and grace of God will get you through this.

Saturday, as the going gets tough and the hills start to get to me, I will think of the long battle Justin faces, Kristin's determination, and the sheer joy of having the pleasure to know someone like Jed. After all, no one is really ever gone as long as those who know and love them keep them not only in their memories, but in their hearts.