NCAA 2017 D3 National Cross Country Championships. I felt really good leading up to the race. My calves were loose and although we had a few hiccups before the start of the race, I told myself to take a deep breath and relax my mind. My goal was to get out in the top 20-30 runners and around the 1k I was mid 20's to 30's. However, by about the mile, there was a gap from the guys that I should have been running with and the place that I was running in. Today was not my best race, it wasn't my most graceful race, I didn't even run to my full potential today. Sam and I had a goal to be in the top 10 and I feel like that would have been possible if I would have run to my full potential. Coming up on the 3 mile I saw 14:49 and am guessing we went through in around 15 flat. By this part of the race I was in about 33rd and was feeling pretty tired. My breathing was starting to get out of rhythm but I pushed aside the doubts and told myself I can't let more than 5 people pass me. Going up the hill to start the final loop, I caught up to Sam and yelled "let's go." Going around a turn, I put my head down and put in a surge on the inside part of the corner to pass a guy. With a mile to go, Mark Failey passed me up the hill and I did everything I could to try and match him. I told myself that any steps with him would put ground on people behind me. 1k left came up really fast and I thought this is it, this is everything I've worked for. Coach Chapman said at this point I looked awful. He thought I was going to get passed by a lot of people. Going up that last hill I was anywhere between 37 and 41. I made another move up the hill and then changed gears at the top. I got passed by 2 people but stuck on them. My breathing was so heavy. I couldn't get any oxygen it felt like. I told myself that there are medics at the finish line so it's okay if I pass out. I really wanted to leave it out there today. I kicked as hard as I could, my form probably wasn't the best. Last year when I crossed the finish line nobody ran up to me and I knew that I didn't reach my goal. This year, I was pretty sure I had got it. Than some people started telling me I was 35th. There were a lot of tears of joy. It meant the world to me hug the people that helped me get to this point. Those people know who they are. A really special hug was with Jerry and we both just cried together. I really wished I could have hugged Kailas at the end of this one because me and him have probably done over 1000 runs together in our lifetime. It was great to hug Chase Moser because he was the type of leader that I wanted to be when I was just a freshman.
I just want to thank everyone for this season. The coaches were fantastic, and my teammates were incredible. Really proud of the fight we had and the fact that we were able to race with 4 seniors in our final cross country race. Really proud of how Sam ran with the flu and how much he battled. Mitch for finally being able to race at a national meet, a goal he had since last year. Aaron for being a great leader and confident runner, Joel for coming on as a strong 5 at the end of the season even when his conference race didn't go as planned. Casey for accepting the lifestyle of a distance runner and running some really nice races for us. Caleb for his great leadership and running. Ali for his talented and passionate self, and Joe for improving like a madman since high school. Bennett for calling me or texting me before every race this season. And finally, my parents who I'll save the thank you's for my senior speech.