FAIRBANKS-Last Monday history was made for men's cross country program at UAF. Mitch Burgess, a freshman, from Temecula, California was named GNAC Co-Runner of the Week-the first in program history. Burgess ran a 16 minute 47.4 second 5K at the Big Wave Invitational-just his second collegiate race.
"I mean it was, it was nice to know like, I guess that's the first like, runner of the week that we got with the program," Burgess said. "It should be a step in the right direction for the future. Hopefully [we'll] get more with the team. Because we're so like, tight and like any one can take it any week so competing with otherteams now is good."
Burgess came to UAF to major in petroleum engineering. Running is a bonus. But running 8Ks in college takes a bit more work for the 5K specialist.
"During the 8K I'd say it's kind of more just relaxing the first half of the race and then getting down to the 5K and then what I know is the 5K." Burgess added, "So you start racing the 5K then and just take like the first 3000 [meters] just as kind of like a placing spot and then race the last 5K."
Head coach Scott Jerome is always preaching that it's how you finish late in the season when it really matters. Burgess echoes that mindset.
"The races early kind of matter but they don't matter to NCAA, GNAC championships and all that stuff so [you] definitely want to have a better end season than the start of the season, Burgess said.
UAF will be back on the trails this Saturday in Lacey, Wash. for the St. Martin's Invitational.