By Garrett Smiley
Not only did Cuesta recently bring in its first two cross country state titles in three decades — the champions, Miranda Daschian and Sean McDermott — are actually dating, making them the quickest community college couple in California.
Daschian, sophomore psychology major, and McDermott, sophomore communications major, both received state titles after having the fastest times in the state competition for cross country.
The California Community College Athletic Association State Championship occurred at the end of Fall semester 2016, with Cuesta’s men’s and women’s teams finishing tenth and seventh respectively.
Daschian’s and McDermott’s wins are significant for the school, marking the end of a championship drought that began in the early 1980s.
While both runners could not be more different in their running styles, the difference, they feel, adds to a dynamic that contributes to their success.
“His outlook on running tends to be a little different from mine,” Daschian said. “I tend to be more headstrong.”
While Daschian credits her wins to her running style, McDermott says that it was Daschian that propelled him over the top.
“She pushed me most of the season and always told me I could win state, it just so happens that the best case scenario was the one that happened,” McDermott said.
While any win is straightforward, their path to the sport has been anything but. Neither student even knew if they were going to run cross country at the collegiate level.
Much like McDermott’s season last year, his path to Cuesta was a zigzag, having previously attended two community colleges before arriving at SLO.
Daschian didn’t know if she wanted to run cross country out of highschool, and running at Cuesta College didn’t seem like something that was going to happen.
“We talk a lot about how we may never have known that either of us existed,” McDermott said. “I went to two community colleges before and I didn’t run at them. If it wasn’t for running, I don’t think that we’d even know each other.”
The two have said that they rely on each other to reach personal goals, and are crucial to each other’s success.
Daschian was persistent in telling McDermott that he could, in fact, win state, and would even go on the occasional “cooldown run” with McDermott and the men’s team.
“I didn’t think that I could win the state championship until about four weeks before the run,” McDermott said. “Miranda told me even before the season started that I could win state. She made me think that I could do it.”
Both McDermott and Daschian each say they are confident about their futures, with the two looking to collect more state titles in and out of cross country.
“I’m hoping to break the records in the 1500m and 5k, maybe the 10k as well,” Dashian said. “Past this semester I would like to continue running at a university, but haven’t quite decided yet.”
McDermott has set a similar set of goals for the two of them, and has his sight set on bringing more glory to the Cuesta community: “Now we are focused on bringing Cuesta more state titles from this upcoming track season.”