Preview: Flank to Compete in Cross Country Nationals

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - page 2

cross country logo by Kaci Gregory ’18, member of the Muhlenberg women’s cross country team

This past weekend, the Muhlenberg cross country teams competed at Big Springs High School in the NCAA Mideast Regional Qualifier. The men placed 15th out of 47 teams and the women placed 17th out of 52 teams. To top things off, sophomore Jaryd Flank received a bid to the NCAA Championships, which will be held this Saturday in Mason, Ohio.

Jaryd Flank The weather at the qualifying meet was cold, rainy and typically not the kind of conditions most runners would find advantageous. However, when asked to describe his most optimal racing condition, Flank said, “I like to run in the worst possible conditions.” Luckily for him, the weather is predicted to be in the mid-40s with a chance of rain on Saturday.

Flank is very excited, because advancing to this level was one of his long-term goals. “I consider myself an underdog and I believed that I had an outside chance of going to nationals,” he said. Nevertheless, by taking things one step at a time, he has proved to be successful.

When Flank travels to Ohio, one thing he had for most of the season will be missing. Flank and his teammates have a very close bond and one of the ways the men displayed their brotherhood this season was in the act of growing out their beards. Flank said that they “grew out their beards for the team’s success.” Then once the regular season ended, the men finally shaved.

However, Flank adds, “the shaving of my beard will have no effect on my individual performance, because the drive to be successful is my greatest motivator.”

Flank placed 14th overall in a race that included 343 finishers. This makes him not only the third sophomore in program history to compete in the NCAA Cross Country Championships, but the first to do so as an individual.

When asked about his goals for this weekend, Flank said he’s going to “shoot for the top 50.” In addition, he said, “I especially want to thank Coach Steve, Coach Finley and my teammates, because to them I attribute much of my success.”

This is the 10th year in a row Muhlenberg has sent at least one athlete to the NCAA Championships in cross country. The Mules wish Jaryd Flank much luck this weekend!
Click here for the meet site.