Picture this. 800-plus athletes and coaches and 1,000-plus fans from all over the country in Hanover, Ind. What brings them here? The 2013 NCAA DIII Cross Country National Championships. Being a member of the track team and working with sports information director here at Hanover, I was able to be a part of this crazy, awesome event.
I ran cross country back in the day, but couldn’t imagine running the way these runners do. It was so cool, yet intimidating, to be around these amazing athletes.
Friday night, I worked the door taking tickets from the athletes and coaches before the awards ceremony, which turned into me filming the winners of the Elite 89. This award recognizes the athlete with the highest grade point average who has reached the national stage of competition among all three divisions.
After filming these athletes receive their awards, I filmed their interviews where they discussed their excitement about the award and also tips for other student athletes.
Another exciting part of the banquet was the t-shirt exchange. The t-shirt exchange worked like this: you bring one of your t-shirts, and then you receive a t-shirt from someone from another school.
After the dinner, everyone raced over to Struck Arena in an attempt to get the best shirt. Once this ended, the athletes retreated back to their car, van, or bus to get to bed and rest up for the race the next morning.
The next morning is where the magic happened. Thousands of people came out to watch these athletes run, and the fans were insane! It was so cool to finally see such an under-appreciated sport here at Hanover have real fans.
The weather cooperated with temps at maybe 30 or 40 degrees with a nice breeze. You had students from all over painted up, wearing spandex and sports bras, cheering for their teams. The atmosphere of this event so intense and exciting, and I had never experienced anything like it before.
The weekend was an epic event with some amazing athletes, and I am so happy that I had the chance to be a part of it. It was definitely one of the highlights of my senior year and something that I will never forget.