Fiona Jordan and Adam Elshamy start fresh as The Occidental’s Athlete of the Week

Cross country runner Fiona Jordan (senior) poses for her Athlete of the week feature in Sycamore Glen at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Sept. 18, 2021. Leo Blain/The Occidental Golfer Adam Elshamy (junior) poses for his Athlete of the week feature in the Academic Quad at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Sept. 18, 2021. Leo Blain/The Occidental

Fiona Jordan

Fiona Jordan (senior) was the Occidental women’s cross country team’s top finisher in both the Pomona-Pitzer/Occidental dual meet Sept. 1 and the UC Riverside Invitational Sept. 18. At the team’s season opener at Pomona-Pitzer, Jordan placed 10th overall, running a 15:45:00 time in the 4K, which was less than a minute behind nationally ranked Pomona-Pitzer’s first-place finisher. At UC Riverside, Jordan ran a 19:14:00 in the Women’s Open 5K and finished 39th overall.

Jordan said she is thrilled with her performance this year, especially coming back from a stress fracture earlier this year.

“I think I have honestly just surprised myself this season with how strong I’ve felt. The last two meets have been about figuring out [where] my fitness level is at and how hard I can push,” Jordan said.

Ellie Furth (senior) and Jordan have been teammates since their first year. Furth said she has seen Jordan come a long way.

“The first time I met Fiona before our pre-season meeting, she was in a boot from a stress fracture,” Furth said. “Fiona has shown time and time again that neither injury nor personal setbacks will stand in her way.”

According to Jordan, her first two seasons at Occidental were challenging due to injuries and she struggled to improve her times. This year, Jordan said she feels stronger and ready to compete.

“I have been feeling super strong during workouts and races which is a breath of fresh air. I’m just trying to take advantage of feeling strong,” Jordan said.

Jordan said that part of her growth as a runner this season is because she increased her mileage during the COVID-19 quarantines.

“There was nothing else to do so I would just go out and run longer and longer,” Jordan said. “It gave me something to do and it allowed me to be outside when we weren’t going anywhere.”

According to Jordan, the team and community drew her to the sport the most.

“Everyone I’ve ever met through running has been super supportive,” Jordan said. “The cross country team at Oxy is a really special group of people. Both the men and women’s team are just composed of a lot of really down-to-earth kind people who work really hard. I feel lucky that I get to spend every day with them.”

Jordan said she is going to push herself even harder in the rest of the season.

“I still have a lot left in the tank,” Jordan said. “My plan for the next race is to take it out harder and push harder.”

Adam Elshamy

Adam Elshamy (first year) shot a 4 under par 68 at the California State Intercollegiate Golf Championships in Ventura, CA Sept. 13. Elshamy said a normal three-round tournament is usually played over three days, so golfers play 18 holes per day. This tournament was different because it was a two-day tournament, where the first day was 36 holes and the second day was 18, according to Elshamy.

Elshamy said the double round on the first day made it an extra-long and strenuous day.

“You’re out on the course for 10 hours straight playing, and I think we walked 12 miles in total. And it’s very difficult, not only to make sure that your body is in good shape, but also to handle yourself mentally,” Elshamy said.

Elshamy said finishing with a four under par 68, meaning he shot four strokes under the course’s par of 72, was especially momentous given that it was his first college competition.

“It was very special for me to do so,” Elshamy said. “It was [because of] a lot of help from my coaches and my teammates.”

Elshamy said that swing coach Joe Cano pushed him to finish strong on the 17th and 18th holes. Cano, who works with both the men and women’s golf teams at Occidental, said there is a lot of talent across both teams this year.

“Every year since I’ve been here, we’ve had one or two players that stand out as really good players. But we have more depth on the team this year than we’ve ever had,” Cano said.

Elshamy, who is from Alexandria, Egypt, said it was difficult finding good golf competition in Egypt.

“Golf is a very small game in Egypt. Not a lot of people play it,” Elshamy said. “I’m very happy to be here and have the competition that is offered and play at collegiate tournaments.”

Elshamy said his teammates have helped him acclimate to Occidental culture and life.

“I think we’re more than teammates – we’re friends,” Elshamy said.