Wake up at 5:30 a.m., go to ROTC physical training, then go to 16 credits worth of classes.
Next, go to cross country practice from 2:30 to 5 p.m., go home, do homework and go to bed.
On top of that, add a military science class and a leadership lab once a week, and cross country races on the weekends.
That is the average week for sophomore men’s cross country runner and ROTC cadet Johnathan Condly.
Condly admits that balancing school, ROTC and cross country gets difficult sometimes, but he said he overcomes the challenges by focusing on what is important to him.
“It’s a lot of doing the right thing, and a lot of time management,” Condly said.
After coach James Snyder saw Condly run in the state meet during his senior year of high school, he knew he wanted him on his team.
“Coming down the home straightaway, he closed the top guys really well, and he put himself in a position to be great,” Snyder said.
The Owls started intensely recruiting Condly in the fall of his senior year while he was already in the process of applying for ROTC. In November 2014, Condly officially committed to run for Temple.
It wasn’t until about six months later that he knew he would also be joining the ROTC program. Though he committed to run before he became a part of ROTC, joining the military was something Condly always wanted to do.
“Hearing my sister talk about ROTC when she was thinking about applying in high school was really what got me thinking about it,” Condly said.
His sister is now a cadet in the ROTC program at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and enlisted in the National Guard. Condly is also following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who served in the Army.
Condly began the admissions process to attend the U.S. Military Academy, but opted for a traditional four-year university instead. Joining the ROTC program was a good mix of both military training and the “normal college experience,” Condly said.
His desire to participate in the ROTC program did not affect Snyder’s decision to offer him a spot on the cross country team. Condly’s first visit with the cross country team also included a visit to the ROTC office, which Snyder helped coordinate.
Unlike some athletes, it wasn’t his size or build that made Condly stand out to Snyder, but his toughness and strong work ethic.
“Shape, size, color, none of those things really matter in this sport, it’s about how hard you work,” Snyder said. “You put in the time and energy and show up to compete, and you can be pretty special. Johnathan is living that right now.”
Snyder said Condly came into his freshman year as the slowest runner on paper, but finished fifth out of eight Temple runners in the conference championship.
He missed a month of cross country last June due to ROTC, but has caught up to his teammates and is now running toward the front of Temple’s pack.
“It has become a joke that after every race you can find Johnathan off to the side throwing up,” Snyder said, “He gets physically sick because he gives everything during a race.”
Condly’s best race of the season was at Lafayette College’s Leopard Invitational on Oct. 15, when he finished second in a field of 86 runners. He has earned two other Top 25 finishes this season, placing 15th and 23rd at the Big 5 and Rider Invitationals, respectively.
Temple is now looking for him to step up at the American Athletic Conference Championships, which will take place at Cincinnati on Oct. 29.
“I’m really excited for our conference meet,” Condly said. “I think we can do really well as a team, so I’m excited to see how we all run out there.”
“He is a leader on Temple’s campus today and is showing all the promise and potential to be a great leader in our Army in the future,” said Lt. Col. Greg Nardi, who has been an ROTC Professor of Military Science at Temple since 2013.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Johnathan will be an incredible soldier one day,” Snyder added.
Tessa Sayers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.