Merriman finds new career path after battle with depression


Rachel Rudisill/ The Sunflower

Junior Bryce Merriman takes first place at the JK Golden Classic on Sept. 3 in Augusta. Merriman finished with a time of 18:05.1.

Bryce Merriman, redshirt junior, dealt with his first battle of depression last year. 

Merriman, only a sophomore at the time, had never experienced a challenge like this. He was in and out of doctors offices trying new medications to help fight his battle.

“I had been through like two or three different physicians,” Merriman said. “It was just a brutal process. I was knocked out for weeks. It felt like I was walking around like a zombie.”

Merriman never felt spoken to by any of his physicians. After his last round of medication failed, Merriman decided to switch physicians again. Little did he know, he was working with a physician’s assistant.

“I felt listened to,” Merriman said. “They understood that I was really hesitant to try another pill. She was just really understanding and helped me get through it. She ended up prescribing me with a different medication that ended up working. I didn’t even know I was talking to a physician’s assistant until after I was ‘healed.’”

The singular interaction Merriman had with his physician’s assistant inspired him to apply to PA School at Wichita State.

After fighting his battle in fall 2022, his next challenge arose when he began to compete in cross country.

“My resume was really lacking clinical hours,” Merriman said. “I’d only ever worked in a restaurant or a coffee shop. I had a business internship once but no real patient experience.”

In 2018, Merriman joined the Shockers and has been running ever since. He is a four time AD Honor Roll, four time Academic All-conference, two time All Conference, 2021 45th place NCAA Cross Country Midwest Regional and is currently ranked eighth on the WSU All-Time Top 10 List in the outdoor 1500m.

“(Merriman) knows what it takes (to win), and he’s doing everything he does,” Hunter said. “Bryce is motivated to do well, you can see that. He wants this, like everybody on this team, to be a successful year.”

Merriman competed in the JK Gold Classic on Sept. 2. Although he was anxious that he was not able to regularly practice with his teammates, he pushed through.

“I was falling off a bit,” Merriman said. “Coach yelled at me maybe a mile to go, maybe a little less, and that’s probably what got me back.”

Merriman’s determination and skill drove him to earning his first collegiate championship with a time of 18:05.1 in the 6,000 meter.

“I think this is one of the best teams we’ve had,” Merriman said. “I think we’re gonna make some noise here at conference regionals and hopefully head out to nations for the first time in quite a few years.”