It’s a new year, a new season and finally a new Pilot in the Spotlight.
This week’s Pilot in the Spotlight goes to redshirt junior cross country runner Said Guermali, who helped an already dominant UP team stay on top with a stellar performance at the Portland State Rust Buster last weekend, while being named WCC Runner of the Week. UP men’s cross country finished second in the nation last year and is currently ranked third in the nation.
Guermali notched an individual first place finish in the first race of the season for the Pilots, finishing with a time of 18:56.8 in the men’s 6K, a personal record for Guermali. He also helped guide the Pilots to their first team victory of the year, with the team earning a score of just 17 points. There was a 24-point margin between them and the next closest team, the hosting Portland State Vikings.
“It is a great honor to be named WCC runner of the week, especially since our conference has some of the best cross country runners and teams in the NCAA,” Guermali said in an email. “It is always nice to represent the University in a positive light and I hope to continue doing that the rest of this year.”
Guermali said his teammates are a big part of his success and they deserve just as much credit.
“I wish I could share this honor with all my teammates,” Guermali said. “They are all equally deserving and without them it wouldn’t be possible.”
The Pilots have performed extremely well lately, and Guermali says they’ll look to carry that success forward into this season.
“My expectations for UP cross country this year is the same as every year, come out and perform at the highest level,” Guermali said. “It is no secret anymore of how good our team is but this should be an added incentive for myself and my team to continue to stay grounded and work even harder because every team out there wants to win just as bad as we do.
“All in all we want to continue to build on a nearly 30 year legacy and try to make it our best year yet,” he said.
The Pilots run again on Thursday, Sept. 6 at the Oregon Preview in Eugene, OR.