Derek EncisoSenior Spotlight: Derek Enciso

Some athletes just know their sport from day one. They pick up a tennis racquet or a baseball glove at age three and that’s it.

But Derek Enciso was a different sort of athlete. He did it all.

Playing basketball and football, running cross country and track, and even managing and spotting for the gymnastics team, Derek was truly a man of all sports at his high school in Douglas, Wyoming.

Until the day he started running cross country.

“I had a knack for it,” he said. “I felt really good every time I ran – running’s just a good, free-spirited feeling.”

He knew he wanted to continue running in college, and after RMC coach Alan King reached out to Derek, he knew he wanted to run for RMC.

“Alan’s a great person,” Derek said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here; working with Alan, progressing into a new level of competitiveness, I’ve been able to increase the distance that I can run without feeling like I’m completely depleted. It feels so good to be able to do something that the average person couldn’t achieve.”

Derek attributes much of his success to cross country, and advises future runners to work hard because the sport will give back and “pull you through many struggles.”

“[Cross country] has definitely helped to pull me through college,” Derek said. “Without it, I don’t think I would’ve been as successful; it kept me on my toes, always gave me something to do, and I never really had that feeling that I wasn’t needed around.”

He was indeed needed by his teammates, who have become family over Derek’s time at RMC. With graduation taking place this December, Derek will miss the obligation and bonds of the team that drove him to succeed.

“It’s like moving on and leaving a family behind,” he said. But for at least a short time, Derek won’t be moving too far. With plans to stay in Billings at least a year after graduation and finish his physical training certification, Derek will then look into massage therapy school to complement his exercise science major. 

Although he knows he’s a runner at heart, he will use his degree to work with athletes of all varieties, because from the start, Derek was a man of all sports.