It goes without saying that the bigger the school an athlete ends up competing for after high school, the more intimidating that jump is going to be in regards to the level of competition.

Academics are generally harder, as well, simply because the greater the stakes, the larger the college or institution is. That's why, for Centralia graduate Madeline Bostick, finding success with the women's cross country team at Truman State University was no small feat considering the school competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II as a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

"(We) learned about her through the recruiting process," said Truman State head cross country coach Timothy Schwegler. "Truman State was a great academic fit for her. I felt with some development she could definitely contribute in cross country and track in our conference."

This season those contributions ended up including Bostick charting a personal record in the steeplechase on May 3 with a time of 12:48.84 on day two of the GLVC championships. The current sophomore also won the steeplechase on April 13 to help the Bulldogs win the 10-team Blue Oval Invitational in Des Moines, Iowa.

"The number one thing I feel she will get out of college athletics is how to organized her time. Just as in life, to be successful you have to eliminate distractions and focus on what is important at that time," Schwegler said. "Too many college kids want to do a bucket list while they are in school and miss out on the opportunities they only have during their four years of college. Bucket lists are for later on in life."

As a team this year Truman State started the season on Aug. 30 by beating Lindenwood in Kirksville 42-19. The squad then went on to place 15th at the 34-team Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, MO., on Sept. 15 before finally coming in 13th at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Hillsdale, MI., with 383 points.

"Her freshman cross country season was a learning experience. She had an illness that spring which set her back for several months," said Schwegler. "This Indoor and Outdoor Track seasons she has made big strides. I am really looking forward to watching her compete this Cross Country season."

In 2017 Bostick's best performance was a ninth-place showing in a 4k race during a dual against Lindenwood in a time of 16:07.30. The former Lady Panther also took 14th at the Central Methodist University Invitational in 20:24.4 and she also took 39th at a DII Showcase at 20:10.0, both of which were 5k.

"I think it was a little tough for her. The training definitely was a step up and the meets were like her going to the State Meet every weekend," Schwegler said. "I feel she has made the adjustment now. I also teach in the Exercise Science Department, which is her major. Several professors and instructors say they are impressed. So, I can definitely say (she has done) well with academics."

One goal Bostick set for herself this season that she wasn't able to reach was for she and her team to be competing at the NCAA Div. II Championships on Dec. 1 in Slippery Rock, PA. But, if she wasn't able to bring things home the way she wanted at least the Centralia grad was able to help get the season off to a quality start this past season on Mar. 30 in St. Louis at Francis Field on the campus of Washington University by finishing 133rd after clocking in at 20:48.25.

"The thing I like about her the most is she likes to compete. She doesn’t like to get beat," Schwegler said. "(I'd like to see Madeline) Continue growing as a runner. Becoming a college runner is so different than high school. That’s why you see some great high school runners don’t do well in college because they are afraid to learn and adjust. What they did in high school doesn’t work at this level."