Izzy keeps busy at LCU

LCU courtesy photo Izzy Miranda, left, said his goal this year is to make it to nationals, which he has done the past two seasons, and finish in the top 30 — which would give him All-American honors.

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

The best cross country runner for the men’s team this year at Lubbock Christian University is former Clovis High standout Izzy Miranda. He’s also a guy who’s been known to wow onlookers with his soccer skills.

But perhaps the highest tribute to the LCU junior has nothing to do with pure athletic prowess. Instead, it has to do with Miranda’s personality and how it translates to his peers.

“He’s not in your face all the time, not aggressive, but he’s a natural born leader,” said Lubbock Christian cross country coach Derek Kite.

“Everybody here has this kind of mentality: ‘If we want to be good, we need to be like Izzy.’ Everyone in the school wants to be like Izzy.”

Last week, athletically speaking, Miranda excelled. At the South Plains Invitational in Levelland, Texas, Miranda finished fourth.

At most of his races, in fact, Miranda is a regular in the top five or top 10. And the Clovis High product always seems to start his collegiate cross country seasons strong, by winning a race hosted by McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. That’s something Miranda pulled off for a third straight time when the 2011 schedule began.

“It’s kind of a nice meet,” Miranda said. “I really enjoy it.”

Miranda added that his personal goal this year is to make it to nationals, which he has done the past two seasons, but this time to finish in the top 30 — which would give him All-American credentials. As a freshman, Miranda finished 48th overall at the season-concluding nationals race before slipping to 75th overall as a sophomore.

“He’s our No. 1 runner. He has a load of talent,” Kite said. “I can see this guy going far, very far, if he decides to pursue that after college.”

What Miranda is going to pursue after his days as an LCU Chap is a career in the ministry. While others might like to be like Izzy, Miranda would like to follow in the footsteps of friends who have gone on to be youth ministers.

“I’m kind of doing the degree and seeing where God leads me,” Miranda said. “A few people I know have become youth pastors. That’s what I’d like to do — I look up to those guys.”

As an aside, and remember that cross country used to be an aside for Miranda when he started the sport as a junior in high school, Izzy lately has been moonlighting as a soccer announcer.

“We were hanging out, playing FIFA on the X-box and I was calling the game. The guys said I should do that for real,” Miranda recalled.

Looking into the idea, Miranda soon found himself being utilized by Lubbock Christian University. During LCU home games, if you follow the action on a webcast on the school’s website, it’s Miranda’s voice you’ll hear.

“They have me doing it in English, although I’d prefer to do it in Spanish,” he said.

There is a little wiggle-room for the CHS grad, however.

“Once in a while, in the middle of the game, I’ll do about 10 minutes in Spanish,” Miranda said.