On Monday morning I blasted out an email to 11 runners who will be representing their schools and, of course, Heps at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. And the six guys replied right away! Some of the women have replied, so we will give them another day to see if more come in.
Today, the men:
Mark Amirault, Princeton
Our team has been gearing towards Nationals all season, so we’re excited to see how we stack up against the nation’s best. The key for us is to not get caught up in the hype surrounding the NCAA Championships and run a controlled, intelligent race. As a team I think we have gotten better every meet and demonstrated strong depth. If we run the way we have all season, we should be very competitive. Individually, I think the course in Terre Haute suits me well and I look forward to the challenge next Monday.
Tom Poland, Columbia
Heading into Nationals, I am looking to simply treat it just the way I have every other race this season and place as high as I possibly can. This is a new stage for me because I have never been to Nationals and I don’t know what to expect, but I think if I can go into the race with the intention of taking care of business, I will leave Terre Haute without any doubts about my ability.
Donn Cabral, Princeton
One thing that is on our minds regarding the season as a whole, and especially coming out of the regional championships with a W, is how far we’ve come since last year. We really buckled down and managed to put the pieces together this year and it has been showing. Going into nationals we’re trying to compete with confidence and to the best of our ability even though only one of us, Brian Leung, has prior experience at this meet. We haven’t been really eyeing a particular team place, but if we race at the level we’ve been at all season we’re definitely a top-15 team, and most likely a top-10 team. Regardless of how things turn out, we’re excited to finally make it to Nationals and we’re looking forward to representing the League well.
Dan Chenoweth, Harvard
This year we’ve been focusing on the process of training and racing well. Cross country can be fairly fickle and you can’t really predict how a particular race on a particular day is really going to go or how you are going to feel. What I hope to do is execute to the best of my ability and run the best race I can next Monday by focusing on the issues I can control.
Jeff Perrella, Yale
I always set my sights high. At Terre Haute I am hoping to make a run for All-American. I have every confidence in Coach Ireland’s training and the work I have put in over the last few years to make something like this possible. As far as getting to Nationals, I could not be happier. I have worked a long time to get back to the national stage and I believe the full, uninterrupted season of training has made all the difference. Coach Ireland has always preached consistency in training and now that I have finally gotten it I have been able to do some damage.
Brian Leung, Princeton
I couldn’t have been more excited with the team result at regionals. At last year’s regional meet I got spiked in the hand and had to drop out of the race, so finishing this year and, fortunately, winning the race as a team was a much better result. I think we’re ready to have our best race at Nationals. Coach Dolan’s training philosophy for the cross season has always been strength-based and the transition to 10k should not be difficult. Although this is our first time to the meet as a team, we are looking to score extremely well. This is not a situation where we are complacent just to have made it to the national meet — we are going in with the attitude that we can, and will, be competitive with the best teams in the country.