Men's cross country races toward championship

By The Beacon | November 14, 2012 9:00pm

For the eighth consecutive year, the men’s cross country will appear in the NCAA Cross Country Championship.

(Photograph courtesy of Kim Spir)

By Taylor Tobin, Staff Writer

Following up on a WCC first-place finish led by established veterans and talented underclassmen, men's cross country is gearing up for the NCAA Championships Nov. 17, after placing second in the NCAA West Regionals Nov. 9.

Junior Scott Fauble placed ninth overall at Regionals with a time of 29:54. The next fastest finishers for the Pilots were junior David Perry, 29:58, and senior Lars Erik Malde, 30:10. Fauble is expecting more success from his team at Nationals.

"I think we have a lot of good guys and everyone is going to run really hard," Fauble said. "I expect us all to go out there and run really gutsy."

Men's cross country Head Coach Rob Conner is also looking forward to a good performance from his team. Conner was also awarded Coach of the Year in the West Region for his job coaching up his young talent to be successful. Conner explains that the guys have been training since mid-June. Tough workouts were added twice a week to the team's already strenuous training of about 95 to 100 miles per week as the school year started.

Conner is happy that the team prepared well and was successful at regionals so they can compete at nationals for their eighth consecutive year. He is especially proud that the Pilots placed well among western powerhouses like Stanford and the University of Oregon.

"It's really gratifying. We're running in what I consider the toughest region," Conner said. "The guys understand that to beat those kind of programs, you have to be very dedicated and very consistent in your training."

Fauble notes that his coaches are really helpful in getting the team into good racing shape, and that his coaches add to his motivation.

"I don't need a lot of external motivation. I'm pretty motivated," Fauble said. "The coaches are really great people, and the relationship we have with them makes us want to run harder. Not only for our teammates and ourselves, but for them as well."

Conner said that his main focus going into Regionals as a coach was to reassure his team that they do not have to perform a miracle, but they should go out and run like they have been trained to do.

"Our guys can always feel confident in knowing that they have really good endurance," Conner said. "So as long as you don't overextend yourself early in the race, you'll have the endurance to maintain a solid push the whole way."

However confident in his team's ability to do what they have prepared for, Conner knows that his team is young, and their weakness is naivety.

"They want to go out and achieve something, and they don't realize they're only sophomores, but they're thinking like seniors," Conner said.

Of the seven Pilots going to Nationals, only two are seniors. Often times, teams go to Nationals loaded with seniors.

Conner comments that, although the team has three sophomores competing in Nationals with just one year under their belts, the youth will only help the team more in the years to come.

"I think it's going to allow us to recruit in some higher level talent," Conner said. "We need another three really good freshman. We've got to find the right guy who wants academic focus, a small school and serious cross country."

Fauble agrees, and says that the youth of the team will create a consistency in the future.

"Youth will help us be consistent moving forward year to year," Fauble said. "Consistency is what the older guys have shown us how to execute."

Women's cross country will not be competing at the NCAA Nationals this year. They placed eighth in the NCAA West Regionals on Nov. 9. Sophomore Tansey Lystad finished with a time of 20:23, followed by Merel van Steenbergen, who ran her fastest time of the season, 20:47, at regionals.

(Photograph courtesy of Kim Spir)

(Photograph courtesy of Kim Spir)

(Photograph courtesy of Kim Spir)