The Wolfpacker

September 2015

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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62 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY BRUCE WINKWORTH M ore than three decades into what certainly will be remem- bered as a Hall of Fame career as NC State's head cross coun- try coach, Rollie Geiger has learned many things. Foremost among them is patience. Yes, it takes talent to win in men's cross country at the collegiate level. It also takes numbers, lineup and roster depth. Teaching is certainly required; coaching them up, as the saying goes. But as much as anything, it takes pa- tience, especially in men's cross country when young athletes used to running 5,000 meters in high school suddenly find them- selves running twice that distance at the collegiate level. "There's no other sport in the NCAA in which we change the game to the extent that we do in men's cross country," Gei- ger said. "They run 5,000 meters in high school, and our championship races in col- lege are 8,000 and 10,000 meters. That's a huge jump. That takes time to make that transition, and it takes development. "And it takes patience." Geiger could have found his patience tested at times a year ago when one of his youngest teams ever missed the NCAA Championships, the first time the Wolfpack wasn't part of the national championship field since 2005 and only the second time since 1994. Upon reflection, however, Geiger un- derstood that four of the seven athletes he lined up for the NCAA Southeast Regional had never run a 10,000-meter cross country race, and they just weren't quite ready for that particular challenge, finishing fifth in the 33-team regional field. Two weeks earlier, NC State ran a strong second in the 8K Atlantic Coast Confer- ence Championships, losing to a power- house squad from Syracuse that finished fifth nationally, but beating North Carolina, Virginia and Florida State, all of which qualified for nationals with UNC finishing 12th. ■ PREVIEW MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY Patience Rewarded The Wolfpack Has High Expectations After Growing Pains In 2014 Redshirt junior Sam Parsons finished fourth at both the ACC Championships and NCAA Southeast Regional last season. PHOTO BY CHERYL TREWORGY ■ By The Numbers 2 Individual ACC men's champions in the last four seasons. 3 True freshmen who lined up for the Wolfpack men in 2014 varsity races (Patrick Sheehan, Alec Thomas and Aaron Thomas) after only one lined up the previous five seasons combined. 7 Returning athletes who raced in the 2014 ACC Championships and NCAA Southeast Regional.

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