Eric Finan Preps For 2011 NCAA Men's Cross Country Championships|
Nov. 20, 2011
CINCINNATI - For the second-straight year, the University of Cincinnati will be represented at the NCAA men's cross country national championship by senior Eric Finan (New Richmond, Ohio/New Richmond). On Monday afternoon, the senior from New Richmond, Ohio, will set off with 254 other runners in pursuit of the NCAA title at the Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, located just outside of Terre Haute, Ind.
Finan makes a return trip to the NCAA championship after finishing in 60th place last year. He entered that race coming off a first-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes regional meet. This year, he's put together a season where he's won the BIG EAST and All-Ohio individual titles, was the overall top finisher in three other meets and finished third in the Pre-Nationals meet that was held on the same course where Monday's race will be run. In last week's NCAA Great Lakes regional meet, he finished second in a race where his stated priorities where to qualify for nationals and save enough of himself physically to be ideally prepared for the championship race.
"These are the best 255 distance runner in America, all trying to win," said UC men's cross country head coach Bill Schnier. "Eric was 60th last year. Last spring, he was 10th in the (NCAA outdoor track and field championship) 5,000 meters. This year he has only lost to three people so he is clearly getting better. His chances of running a great race are 100 percent. He will be in the hunt with the other 30 or so elite runner. They will decide who is best in the U.S."
The Lavern Gibson course has hosted seven of the last eight NCAA cross country championships, earning Terre Haute the nickname of "Cross Country Town, U.S.A". Schnier described the course as "fair for those who like flat as well as those who thrive on hills". This will be the second time in six weeks and third within a calendar year that Finan has run on the NCAA championship course, a factor that he believes gives him an edge.
"I'm familiar with the course which is an advantage," Finan said. "I know there are certain places on the course where you should make moves or sort of have to endure more. The long hills, I know where they are, where they occur in the race. It gives you a little bit of a strategic advantage."
The men's championship race will go off at 12:08 p.m. Monday and will be livestreamed on NCAA.com. Updates from the race will also be tweeted on @UCDougMosley and post-race video interviews will be available on GoBearcats.com.