SJU's Murray Prepares for NCAA Cross Country Championship on Monday
Nov. 23, 2008
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Senior co-captain Kyle Murray will compete in his first NCAA Championship on Monday afternoon. The race is set to kick off at 12:48 p.m. on the LaVern Gibson Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center hosted by Indiana State University. Coverage of the event can be seen live on CBS College Sports Network and streamed online at NCAA.com.
"Once the race got going I just fought for as long as I could," Murray said. "Though it may have been the most painful race I have ever been in, I just kept trying to chase after people."
Murray, the Mid-Atlantic Region's fourth automatic individual qualifier to the Championship, has had a terrific season in 2008. Aside from a back injury that precluded the 2007 All-Atlantic 10 standout from completing the 2008 edition of the race, Murray has led the squad in every other race he's appeared.
"Unfortunately I was unable to finish A-10s," said Murray. "Going into regionals I really wanted to get the highest placing I could in order to help the team, which we were looking to get in the top seven."
The Hawks finished an impressive fifth in the highly competitive Mid-Atlantic region, which is sending Georgetown, Penn State, and Villanova to the Championship. Two Princeton athletes and one from Maryland round out the Region's participants.
The senior out of Jamison, Pa. is the first Hawk participating in the National Championship since Andre Laboy in 2003 when the race was hosted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Although Murray is hoping for All-American honors, which would include him as one of the top 40 runners in the race, he has a realistic goal in mind entering tomorrow.
"I would love to be an All-American," Murray said. "But I am really looking to be in the top 80 of the race. Everyone is here for a reason, so everything is going to be tight and close, and people will be streaming through the finish with [just] hundredths of a second in between, but I just want to come out of NCAAs knowing I ran a great race whether that is 40th or 80th."
This is the 11th time a SJU harrier has made it to the Championship, Murray has his sights set on the best finish in the modern era for a Hawk, which was set by Karl Savage's 67th-place showing in 2000. Top 40 earn All-American honors at the competition.
Four Saint Joseph's athletes have been sent to NCAAs under the direction of head coach Mike Glavin and Murray is the third this decade. In total, 31 teams are joined by 38 individual qualifiers to comprise the 255-participant field. The LaVern Gibson Course has hosted the last four NCAA Championships. Oregon won the team title in 2007.
The women's race will begin at approximately 12:08 p.m. and the men will follow around 12:48 p.m. The course is a 10-kilometer circuit run mostly on open rolling grassy hills in southwestern Indiana.