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Athlete Blog - Pre-National Recap

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By Nick Scarpello, Student-Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - So another update here from the men's team post-pre-Nat's - but of course, ladies first: we want to congratulate the women on a really nice team effort on Saturday as they grabbed 13th place. Leigha Anderson ran really tough up front and secured a 43rd place finish. Overall the ladies ran great, and this time we got to share in the celebration with them. Matt Fischer came through huge for us with his 29th place finish. It was no surprise to anyone, of course. Matt knows, as do we all, that he's been putting in the miles, doing all the right things, and grinding it out in the workouts. And so cracking 24 minutes for the first time was no surprise to him and no surprise to us. No one deserved to have a great race more than this guy.

9284452 (1).jpegMeanwhile, hats off to Robby. Robby expects great things every single time he races.  He is never one to back down, and inserted himself right with the second chase pack alongside Fischer. They worked together extremely well and his mid-race persistence paid off. Meanwhile, freshman Conner Quinn is still on a roll and really came through for us in a big way on Saturday. A little uncharacteristic of a freshman, quite honestly, to be as clutch as Conner has been. Kind of makes me wish I had four years on the squad ahead of me as well!

So what was different from Paul Short? I think the guys would agree that it was resolve. We knew we needed to run with absolute resolve, fully intent on making a statement and scoring some at-large points. This time around we had that resolve, and we just got after it. It was awesome. We got off the line hard and just wouldn't back down. Our three, four, and five runners all fought their way up through the field in the final 3,000 meters. It was a hard-fought battle and I know certainly everyone is proud of 17th place in a field of 52 teams, but I doubt we will be resting on our laurels any time soon.

As for now, it's simply time to get back to work. We will put in a couple of good workouts here between now and Big Ten Championships and get ready for a fight in one of the toughest conferences in the country. One thing is for sure: it looks like our guys are hitting their stride at the right time, and this next run is shaping up to be a fun race for everyone to watch.

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As captain of the 1980 NCAA third place team and now a high school coach in Ohio, it's great to see you guys getting after it. Keep working hard, believe in yourselves and enjoy every moment.

Tom Rapp

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