November 19, 2015
Tech men's cross country squad set for NCAA Championships
Hokies will be making their second appearance at this meet since 1987

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech men’s cross country team left Thursday for Louisville, Kentucky, the site of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships.

The Hokies are one of 31 teams competing at the NCAA Championships after receiving an at-large berth from an NCAA selection committee on Saturday. Only 13 teams received an at-large berth, with 18 teams qualifying automatically by virtue of finishing in the top two of one of the nine regional meets.

The Tech men, making their first appearance at the NCAA Championships since 2012 and just the second since 1987, finished sixth at the NCAA Southeast Regional at Panorama Farms outside of Charlottesville this past Friday. The Hokies enter the NCAA Championships ranked No. 22 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll and No. 23 in the FloTrack poll.

“The guys were really excited when they found out that they were going to have an opportunity to race,” Tech cross country coach Ben Thomas said. “It wasn’t the best regional race for us, but we’ve raced on this course, so we’re familiar with this course, and they’ve all had positive experiences on this course. They’re confident and excited for the opportunity.

“It’s such a tight field, such a competitive field. Every second is almost two places when you’re coming in. It’s almost two guys for every second, so it’s so tight and competitive. You really have to be focused, but also not blow up. You’ve got to be steady and run the race as best you can and have confidence.”

Tech ran on the course at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park in mid-October in the NCAA Pre-National meet and finished in sixth place – a respectable finish considering the field featured 11 ranked teams. The Hokies’ Thomas Curtin won the race, beating a 288-runner field that included two-time defending national champion Edward Cheserek of Oregon.

Curtin’s win started an impressive streak for the redshirt senior from Leesburg, Virginia. He hasn’t lost since, winning the ACC’s individual crown on Oct. 30 and winning the NCAA Southeast Region on Nov. 20.

Curtin, who has raced on this course four times in his career, goes into the NCAA Championships with a lot of confidence as he shoots to become the school’s first national champion in cross country.

“I’m relaxed and excited,” Curtin said. “I’ve been consistent, so there’s no reason to think that I’ll be tired or feel bad on race day. I should be feeling good and ready to go.”

“If you write it up as far as how you want a season to go, we’ve been pretty fortunate that it’s gone pretty much to script the whole way,” Thomas said. “We’ve always said that if Tommy had consistency for a full year, then he’d be really hard to beat, and that’s proven to be true. We’re real excited. He’s controlled what he can to be ready on the day. It’s going to be fun.”

The men’s race will be held at approximately 1 p.m. following the women’s race at noon. Fans can follow along on live stats by clicking this link –

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