Monday, October 17, 2011

Josh Helton - A Weekend in Evansville

Cross Country

We just returned from the ever-so-exciting city of Evansville, Indiana where we raced the Evansville Invitational. Brisk, cool temperatures were present at race time but so were heavy winds and a daunting, unforgiving cross country course. We basically ran three laps on consistent, rolling hills with about 15-20 sharp turns per lap. This totaled up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) and left me and a few teammates in pain and agony. Matt Miller, a mere mortal and BU's top runner, led the way again with a solid 4th-place overall finish. I had a double take during the race when I looked up and saw Matt 15 meters out in front of the ENTIRE field! He has no fear and keeps all of us inspired

I was in the top-10 . . . for about the first mile. However, my hopes were renewed when I heard teammate Brandon "Man"haney coming up behind me. We have a signature move entitled "The Hand of Fury." In this particular situation, here's how it played out: I extend my left arm backwards, and Brandon desperately lunges forward, grabs it and I swing him up as hard as I can. It gives a physical boost to the person being thrown, and it boosts both of us mentally to know we are there for each other. He continued cruising and eventually I found him about a whole 200-300 meters ahead of me! As we came up on the last half-mile, I kicked on the afterburners and chased him down, managing to beat him by a couple seconds. This healthy rivalry has been going on since our sophomore years of high school, and it continues to get more intense every race. This time I was rewarded for my efforts: they gave the top-25 finishers really high-quality t-shirts, and guess what place yours truly finished? Yep - 25th. Sorry B-Mah.

Three of our top-7 runners didn't compete (Erick Kigen, Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson, and Evan Scruton). Our conference meet is in two weeks time, so we did not want to risk any greater injury to these guys. Kyle Sullinger is coming back strong, though, after a tough past year of medical problems. Sullinger would have been a top-3 runner on our team but has been plagued by illness. He is finally getting back into prime shape, which is really exciting for all of us.

Quote of the trip: Coach asked newcomer Kurtis Gibson about his thoughts on the course. In his cute, British accent, he replied, "Well, it is a bit twisty." You heard it here first!

- Josh Helton

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