The Wolfpacker

September 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 63 of 95

L BY RYAN TICE ast year, when NC State won the 2011 ACC championship, senior Ryan Hill crossed the finish line ahead of the all the other runners to become the men's first individual champion since 2007. Teammate Andrew Colley fin- ished less than three seconds later to claim second place. ■ PREVIEW MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY History would repeat itself at the NCAA Southeast Regional, where Hill placed second and Colley fourth, and also at the NCAA Championships, where the duo earned All-America honors following Hill's Himelright," Geiger said. "We do still have some leadership. Combine that with An- drew, and that's our nucleus with two fifth- year seniors and a returning All-American. "The other person that forms our nucleus is Matt Sonnenfeldt — he had a good cross country season, a good indoor season, then he had a collapsed lung during the outdoor season while warming up for the Raleigh Relays. He missed the rest of the season, but he was running at a very high level in both cross country and indoor track. That gives us a pretty good group of four." Campbell earned All-ACC honors in cross The Wolfpack Accomplished Its Goals Last Year And Expects To Do The Same In 2012 KEEPING THE PACE country during the 2009 campaign, and he earned all-region status in both 2009 and 2011. Meanwhile, Himelright earned All- ACC laurels in the steeplechase last spring 10th-place finish and Colley's 15th-place showing. This year, Colley, a redshirt junior, will have to step into Hill's shoes as the leader of the Pack after his teammate exhausted his eligibility in the sport. and Sonnenfeldt, a true senior, achieved all- region accolades in cross country last fall. However, Geiger, who earned his 13th ACC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year award last fall — his 33rd such honor, including women's cross country and track those goals — the program is based on those three things. We're going to try to maintain that." ■ Head coach Rollie Geiger "One of our goals is always to win the conference championship, the second goal is to qualify for nationals and the third is to finish in the top 10. We won't change "He's an elite athlete," head coach Rollie Geiger said of Colley. "Andrew is one of the top 15 guys in the country, and I think he's actually better than that." Geiger, who is entering his 31st year at the helm of the men's program, is also con- fident in the runners surrounding Colley in the Pack's quest for their 15th ACC title in the last 22 years. State is also coming off of a 10th-place team finish at the NCAA Championships, but must replace a quartet of seniors that were led by Hill. "The similarities to last year's team are that we have another group of fifth-year seniors, with Patrick Campbell and Brian 64 ■ THE WOLFPACKER and field — is quick to note that winning championships in cross country takes more than just a quartet of runners up front, al- though that top four will pull their share of weight. "You need to be deep through runners seven, eight, nine," he said. "There is a great opportunity for some other guys to contrib- ute to the program. I'm looking for [redshirt junior] Bobby Andrews, who I think has great potential, Graham Crawford, who is only in his second year as a redshirt fresh- man, [redshirt sophomore] Michael Mansy and [redshirt sophomore] Bryan Spreitzer, who is another guy that ran in the confer- do know it's a difficult transition, but we'll find out in time [if they can help]." Despite the presence of just five individu- als in their junior year of eligibility or later, Geiger's squad is experienced and several have participated in the postseason meets that he always places a great emphasis on. "The athletes who have been in the pro- gram for two or three years, and we've talked about this, their time has come — there's no more redshirting, there's no more time to develop," Geiger explained. "At this time, we need them to compete at an ACC level, at a regional level and at the national level. "One of our goals is always to win the conference championship, the second goal is to qualify for nationals and the third is to finish in the top 10. We won't change those goals — the program is based on those three things. We're going to try to maintain that." Colley noted that achieving the program's three annual goals last fall was a huge ac- complishment, and now it serves as a build- ing block in 2012. "We were really excited about getting top 10 because that's the goal every year," Redshirt junior Andrew Colley, who earned All-America honors in 2011, will assume the mantle of team leader this fall. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS ence championships last year, to be in that group. There's potential with those indi- viduals, and I think that's where our group is going to come from. "Having said that, we also have an out- standing true freshman class. In men's cross country, though, we change the rules. In high school, they run a three-mile race; in college, they run a six-mile race. My anal- ogy has always been that a basketball player shoots at a 10-foot rim in high school, then in college, it's a 12- or 15-foot goal — that's a different game. "Our freshman class is a talented group, with Craig Engels, Sam Parsons, Sam Rob- erson and Adrian Ross. Those four guys are solid, and that's our future. Ryan stepped in and helped immediately, so who knows? I

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