Track Blog: Stump Strong at Lehigh
Oct. 11, 2011
In another installment of this year's new blog posts from the Maryland cross country team, junior Tyler Stump discusses his team-best finish at the Lehigh Paul Short Run
Despite having a young team, the men's cross country team is making huge strides so far in the season. After last week's race at the Paul Short Invitational, we've moved up in the Mid-Atlantic regional rankings to 11th place.
This was our first big race of the season, putting us up against a large field of 45 teams, with seven being nationally ranked, and over 400 runners. It was a crowded and muddy race, preventing anyone on the team from running personal bests for 8k, but the effort level from every single runner was still very high. In the end, the men's team placed 28th overall.
For me, the meet went much better than expected. I didn't run as well as I wanted to at the Navy Invitational, so I was out for vengeance at Lehigh. When the race started, I went out fast and controlled. Despite being crowded in and pushed around, I managed to maintain a good pace and move up in position throughout the race. When the last mile came around, I was still feeling strong and ended up finishing 141st overall in 25:45-- a few seconds off my best 8k time. Considering the muddy and crowded conditions, I would say this was the best 8k I've run yet.
While the men's team lost some talented runners from last year with graduation, we've done a great job getting past this loss by keeping our top guys very close together -- in workouts and in races. So far, our top five runners have finished within at least 44 seconds of each other in each race, which is much closer than years past. A cross country team is only as good as its last man across the finish line, so it looks like the Terps won't be lacking in this department this season.
Overall, I think that we're starting the part of the season where the workouts are getting much faster, which will help us maintain our speed at the end of races. This is going to be crucial for us at the ACC and regional championships, where every second is going to count for the team score.
Once we get these next few weeks of workouts under our belts, we'll able to give the teams of the ACC and the Mid-Atlantic Region a run for their money. The rest of the team and I are very excited to see what the final half of the season has in store for us -- especially since both the men's and women's teams have moved up in rankings. At this point, there is nowhere to go but up!