Runnin Devil Style

June 13, 2001

Note: Starting this Wednesday, I'll be writing a regular column about my experience as a Sun Devil Cross Country and Track runner. In each article, I'll attempt to bring you a first-hand account of what it's like to be a Sun Devil Student-Athlete and to run for one of the top programs in the country. For my first installment, I'll share with you the role summer training plays in our team's success and I'll provide a wrap-up of the 2001 Outdoor Track Season.

At a time when Arizona State University (ASU) athletics is winding down for the year, a new season has dawned for Sun Devil Cross Country. We call it summer training, and it is imperative to our success in the fall. Basically, it's the time when we decide how good we're going to be. As with other sports, the only way to improve is to practice, so in order to become a better runner, we have to run- a lot! Living in Arizona, the summer heat can be a challenge, so most of the time you'll see us running early in the morning or at night. For me, this means getting up at 6 a.m. to work out before I start my job. Normally, since I'm not a morning person, this would be a problem, but motivation comes easily when you look at the success our team had over the past year in both track and cross country.

Just over a week ago our team wrapped up competition at the 2001 NCAA Track Outdoor Championships, with both the men's and women's teams recording their best finishes since 1981 and 1994 respectively. While it was a total team effort, it's hard to overlook the contributions that key athletes like Kelly MacDonald and Marcus Brunson have made to our program. Kelly's third-place finishes in the 5000m and 3000m steeplechase and Marcus's third and fourth-place finishes in the 100m and 200m played a huge role in the final team standings. But it's hard to count out the rest of the team! Throughout the season, there were numerous athletes that had a great impact on the team's improvement and success. Actually, there are too many to name, but it is important to mention people like Fasil Bizuneh, Lisa Aguilera, Tiffany Greer, and David Wood, who consistently had their top performances when it mattered most. All in all, it was a very successful season, one that will help us as we look towards fall in our quest to win a national championship.

Now that the bar has been raised for ASU cross country, the challenge is there for us to continue to run to new heights. While I can't predict what the season will hold for us, I can tell you a couple of things that I do know:

1. I know that we have great leaders on our team who epitomize the meaning of what great athletes truly are. Day-in and day-out they work harder than anyone I know, not because they want to be good- because they want to be the best!

2. I know that everyday I can look around the country and count on the fact that my teammates are training hard wherever they are. Healthy or injured, everyone is working their butt off to become a better runner.

3. I know that our team has the desire to be the best, and as long as we keep training hard and improving, the sky's the limit. In our eyes, ASU should be one of the premiere cross country programs every year.

Personally, I'm excited for the upcoming cross country season. Just thinking about what we can achieve is enough to get me out the door every morning. In my first year at ASU, I've witnessed the effects that desire, dedication, and hard work can bring, and I know it's something I want to be a part of every year. So, basically it's up to me now. I control my own destiny for the upcoming season, and in my eyes, it's going to be one to remember!

A little bit about me:
In the fall, I'll begin my sophomore year academically and my freshman year athletically (You may ask how I'm in two years at one time. Well, this past year I was red-shirted in order to preserve four years of my eligibility. Basically, this means that I ran in a limited number of events and did not represent ASU in competition). My primary event during track was the 1500m. I have lived in Tempe now for the past nine years and am a graduate of Corona del Sol High School. At ASU, I am majoring in broadcast journalism, with plans to become a news anchor or sports reporter in the future.

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