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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Canady, Burnell to XC Nationals

It was another beautiful weekend for the cross country team as captains Frank Canady and Sarah Burnell, both ’14, repeated as qualifiers for the Division III National Cross Country Championships, which will be hosted in Hanover, Indiana on Saturday, November 23.

Canady and Burnell placed 10th and 12th, respectively, at the Central Region Championships at St. Olaf College this past Saturday to earn their berths. Going into the race, the pressure was on to qualify again for the national meet, except against a much tougher field and at a much faster pace.

“The region got really top heavy and competitive,” Canady said. “The race is fast in the beginning; it’s a blistering pace, and you just hang on.”

In fact, the winning times were jaw-droopingly faster this year compared to a year ago, with the fastest men’s time being 45 seconds faster this year.

Canady finished 10th out of 181 runners, dropping back from his eighth place finish last year despite running 29 seconds faster this time around. He completed the eight-kilometer course in 25:20.67.

Burnell faced equally grueling competition and held on to finish 12th out of 186 runners, two spots behind her performance last year, which came as an unpleasant surprise.

“This year there were a lot of strong individuals, so it was a shock to me [to drop two places],” Burnell said.

Burnell completed the six-kilometer course in 22:35.94.

The National Championships will cap off both Burnell’s and Canady’s illustrious cross-country careers at Grinnell, which brings on a wave of mixed feelings.

“It hasn’t really hit me quite yet that it’s the last time,” Burnell said. “It will probably [hit me] right after I’m done.”

In the current moment, Canady is doing his best to focus on the positive aspects of the upcoming weekend, and what cross-country is all about for him.

“Right now, I’m just excited. I’m excited to have the opportunity to race one last time, because Nationals is never a given,” Canady said.

Most of all, it’s just about creating memories at Nationals and staying focused on why it’s wonderful to run: great people and random occurrences.

“Not to be cliché or anything, but it’s really the people. Races are races. I can pick out one or two distinct races that really stand out from the rest,” Burnell said. “[But] you remember the silly conversations, the time we found a cat. Experiences like that are what really stick out to you.”

Having performed up to the pressures of Regionals, Burnell and Canady are content to simply allow themselves to enjoy the now of the moment.

“The experience as a whole is just wonderful,” Canady said. “Just being there as a senior, going to the giant banquet before the race, we’re just going to go enjoy it.”

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