Men's Cross Country Heads to NCAA Championships
Nov. 16, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State men's cross country team, which received one of 13 at-large bids to the most prestigious annual meet last Sunday, will travel west to Louisville, Ky. for the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championship. The men's race will begin at 1:15 p.m. ET.
The Pack, coming off a fourth place finish at the ACC Championships and a third place finish at last weekend's Southeast Regional, will look no further than its group of upperclassmen to lift the squad.
"First and foremost, I want the team to do as well as it can," said senior Matt Sonnenfeldt. "Obviously, I want to go out on a good note."
Although the NCAA Championship meet will mark his final cross country meet as a collegiate athlete, Sonnenfeldt still isn't sure exactly how he'll feel once it's all said and done.
"Honestly, I haven't really thought about it just because it probably will be a sad moment," Sonnenfeldt said. "I don't know at this point what it's going to be like. It will be a weird feeling nonetheless. I'm sure once I get done talking to Patrick Campbell and Brian Himelright, it'll be bittersweet: bitter because it's our last meet, but sweet because we did so well."
While the team has set expectations for itself entering Saturday's championship race, the Wolfpack are peaking at the right time. The team has progressed week-to-week and will look to polish off its season with a strong showing in Louisville.
"At the beginning of the year, we weren't running so hot, but coming into nationals, we have a lot of momentum," Sonnenfeldt stated. "Everybody is on top of their game. I think everyone's bought into the idea that if we run like we did at regionals, and we all run up to what we're capable of running, then we can have a top-15 finish."
Once again, everything will fall back onto the senior leadership of the squad, and it will be runners like Sonnenfeldt, Campbell and Himelright who have to leave everything on the course if NC State wants to achieve its goals. Not only do the seniors have to run well, they have to instill their message into the minds of the underclassmen who will race on Saturday.
"We have four people that have run the course, and as seniors, we have to be leaders and guide the younger guys," Sonnenfeldt said. "We know what we need to get done. Coach [Rollie] Geiger always preaches that the goal never changes. We all know that in the back of our minds, but as a program, we know that we can compete with anyone on any given day."