Junior Nathanael Castle, SPU’s only cross-country runner to qualify for nationals, finished 114th at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 17.
Castle, who had finished no worse than 11th in each of the Falcons’ cross-country races this season, was disappointed with his performance.
"I didn’t run very well at nationals. I ran about two and a half minutes slower than I could have," Castle said. "I just had a bad race."
Castle finished the 10,000-meter course in 35:02, over four minutes slower than Western State’s Michael Aish, who won the race in 30:52 and helped secure the third consecutive title for Western State. About 180 men participated in the race.
Castle was accompanied to Slippery Rock, Pa., the site of the championships, by head coach Doris Heritage, but he still found that the lack of teammates’ support was a factor in the race.
"The biggest challenge for me was just being there alone," Castle said. "Even having the girls there would have helped."
The women’s cross country team had hopes of qualifying for nationals but failed to do so after losing senior Rachel Ross for the regionals. Ross had been expected to contend for an individual title and help lead the team to Pennsylvania.
Both the men and women are optimistic about the possibilities of qualifying for the NCAA Championships next year. The women return a strong core of runners, including sophomore Jamie Witt, who led the team in Ross’ absence this year. On the men’s side, Castle will be returning and should anchor the team.
Castle hopes his experience at nationals will help him next year in a return trip to the championships. The trip to Slippery Rock involves many adjustments for the runners, including the three-hour time change, lack of fan support and climate change.
"If our team can make it [to nationals], then that’s great; but if not, then I’ll just try to qualify individually and not put pressure on other people," Castle said. "It was good to run there this year."
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Title: Castle runs to disappointing result at national meet | Author: Sara Jaime | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2001-11-28 | Internal ID: 2334