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Faith-driven and trained by Samples, Stevenson; Marie Sample has had Hall of Fame career
May 25, 2011
Marie Sample has run her way into Dakota State University's Athletic Hall of Fame on June 4.
First of all, she gives all the credit to God. Then she gives a generous 'thank-you' to her husband David Sample, his parents Richard and Barbara Sample, and DSU Coach Buzz Stevenson.
As Marie Parker at Andes Central, she competed in basketball, volleyball, cross country and track.
"My first love was basketball," admitted Sample. Humbly, she added, "I honestly thought I wouldn't be good enough to run cross country and track at the college level."
"I narrowed my college search to Dakota State University and Dakota Wesleyan University. I decided to come to Dakota State - it was a God thing. I came there (DSU) because God had a plan for me. I started out in college going to school to be an elementary teacher and to play basketball."
Faith and Samples lead her into running career
Sample played basketball for Jeff Dittman in her freshman season in 1994, living in Dittman's Higbie Hall, the only co-ed dorm on campus at that time.
After a basketball scrimmage in October that fall, David Sample was sitting in Higbie's lobby waiting to talk to Parker. Sample, a Madison native, was one of Buzz Stevenson's cross country runners.
"I sat down next to him and asked him about cross country - you know, 'How it's going?", smiled Marie. "He didn't say much, but he came to my room a couple days later to ask me for a walk. We walked to the 7-11 to get a Slurpie. Sounds silly, but we hit it off. Neither of us were partiers and we needed a good friend to spend time with."
Two weeks later, Sample took Parker to meet his parents, Richard Sample and his wife, Barbara.
Marie admits that she was worried about meeting the Samples.
"I came from a poor pig farm with parents who didn't go to college, and David was from a mom and ad who both had pharmacy degrees and his dad had gone on to be a family doctor. That is another God piece in my life."
Richard was and still is one of Madison's premier distance runners.
Soon, she began running four-mile runs with the good doctor and David.
Rich left me in the dust the first several weeks, but I was determined to get faster and to keep up - and I did just that," added Marie. "They brought me my first real pair of running shoes."
At the time it didn't look like a 'God thing,' but a car accident during 1994 Christmas break figured into Marie's athletic future.
She and David were involved in a car crash coming back from rural Lake Andes, and it caused Marie to begin having severe headaches when she took lay-up shots in basketball.
Despite the pain, she completed the basketball season.
Dr. Sample took charge in treating Marie, which included her living in the Sample house.
With David scheduled to compete in an indoor track meet at Aberdeen in 1995, the Samples and Marie went to the meet.
"Coach Stevenson approached Marie during the meet, informed her that he had brought an extra uniform and invited her to run the mile," said Dr. Sample. "Barb and I encouraged her to run."
"We asked Buzz if I could run and he signed me up," added Marie. "I ran and WON the mile - much to my surprise. That started my running career. I finished the basketball season, and then decided to end that (basketball) dream and chase a new one with running and my newfound family.
Rest is running history at Dakota State
Sample produced indoor track records in the following events - 800-, 1000-, 1500- and 5000-meters, the mile-run and in the distance medley relay. In outdoor track, she claimed records in the 1500-, 3000- and 5000-meters, along with sharing the 3200-meter relay.
She was a four-time All-South Dakota Iowa Conference (SDIC) track performer (1995-98) and conference's MVP as a junior and senior.
During her track years, the Trojan women claimed loop titles in outdoor track three straight years - 1995, 1996 and 1997. DSU also won the indoor track title in 1997.
In cross country, she was an NAIA's National qualifer in 1995, and followed that by a three-year run as an NAIA All-American, placing eighth in '96, fifth in '97 and sixth in '98.
The Trojan women were SDIC champions in 1997 and placed third in the nationals that season. They were conference runner-ups in '95, '96 and '98.
"She had determination and ability," stressed Stevenson. "She made a commitment to running, and when you commit, the opportunity becomes a reality."
Sample continues running
Sample has continued her running career after graduating from DSU in 1998.
Her 13-year post-college career has been capped by her qualifying for the 2008 Olympics by running and being clocked at two hours, 45 minutes and 58 seconds at the California International Marathon in Sacramento on Dec. 5, 2007.
She is currently in training for next year's Olympics.
She added, "Athletically, I have also been in the Top 10 in the Twins Cities Marathon. I was second in Tucson, Ariz. in 2003. I have competed in the USATF National Half Marathon seven years and ran well. I have won the Sioux Falls Half Marathon five years and been a runner-up several times. I have won the Brookings Half Marathon and is the course's current record holder."
She is a member of the Brookings Prairie Striders, having won five Worthington Turkey Trots.
"I think it is absolutely great that she has continued her running," added Stevenson. "She has to go down as one of the top female distance runners to come out of the state of South Dakota. I am very happy for Marie and all the success she has had running. She is very deserving of her Hall of Fame selection."
Samples continue to live in Marshall, Minn.
Marie and David have been married for 13 years. They have three daughters - Nichole (11 years old), Natalee (9 years old) and Allyson (5 years old).
Nichole and Natalee are, respectively, fifth- and third-graders at Marshall Area Christian School (MACS), while Allyson will be entering kindergarten this fall.
Marie is a cross country coach at Marshall High Schoo, along with being a substitute teacher at MACS. Sample also trains runners at Marshall's YMCA and also does private tutoring.
"I am thankful and I feel very undeserving of all the blessings in my life," concluded Sample. "I do work hard, but I just feel like have been given more than my fair share. My life changed for the better when coming to Dakota State. I had no idea any of this would have happened."
"I am thanful for the Samples and all the other wonderful people at Dakota State who encouraged me when I thought I was not capable of doing any of the things I have done. I could not have reached any of these dreams and goals without these wonderful people. I also want to take the time to especially thank Buzz Stevenson. He was a big part of what happened to me at Dakota State as well. I worked hard for him and want him to be proud."
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Edited Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director