Wednesday, November 19, 2008
THREE TUFTS HARRIERS IN SATURDAY'S NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
For two of the Tufts University cross country runners who will
compete in the NCAA Championship Race on Saturday, national
competition is old hat. For the other, it will be a brand new
Junior Jesse Faller (Burlington, MA) of the men's team and
sophomore Stephanie McNamara (North Attleborough, MA) of the
women's team have been there before. Both return to the national
championship race as All-Americans this year. Faller was 18th in
last season's NCAA Championship and McNamara was 30th. Both also
have plenty of national experience in track, adding to the comfort
that they feel with the situation now.
"For the most part, I plan to go out there and run my own race,"
said McNamara, who qualified for Nationals by finishing fourth at
the NCAA Regional last Saturday at Williams. "Our team has been
training really hard this entire season and I feel confident that it
will pay off this weekend. As I remember from last year, the
competition field at Nationals is very strong. Having a great
competition field is one of the best parts of any nationals
experience and I really believe that it is something that brings out
the best in every athlete competing in the race."
Faller will be running at the NCAA meet for the second time, but for
the first time individually. He led the team at last year's appearance, when Tufts
finished 26th. He was the NCAA Regional runner-up individually at Williams last
"Since I had some success running at Nationals last year, my race
strategy will be similar for this race," Faller said. "I plan to get
out hard and run in the lead pack from the beginning. I've raced
near the front of every race this season so there's no reason why
this weekend is any different. Once you've established yourself in
the lead pack you've reduced the field from 300 runners to just 30.
It makes the race more manageable and more relaxing. Success at
Nationals is all about being calm in the midst of a very, very
Both will run the course at the L.S. Ayres Athletic Complex on the
campus of Hanover College for the first time on Friday. The men's
eight-kilometer race will begin at 11 a.m. The women's six-kilometer
event will start at noon. Both Jumbos will look to improve on their
NCAA performances from a year ago.
"Other than that, I simply expect myself to give 100 percent and
enjoy every moment," McNamara said. Faller added, "I am very excited
to run at Nationals and proud to represent my team and Tufts
The newcomer to the scene will be sophomore Amy Wilfert
(Westborough, MA) from the women's team. She was 14th at the
Regionals to earn a spot in the national championship race.
Travelling with two NCAA veterans will be to her advantage, but she
plans on keeping it simple.
"My plan of attack for Nationals is to just get out there and run my
best," Wilfert said. "I'm told the course has rolling hills in it,
so I hope to use them to my advantage to move up throughout the
race. My goal is to get in the top 35. I think it's possible, but it
will be a tough race. I've been feeling really strong this week, so
I think the race will go well this weekend."
Success at the NCAA Cross Country Championships has become
commonplace for the Tufts teams, and Faller, McNamara and Wilfert
look to extend that tradition this weekend.
Div. III Cross Country Championships Website