October 30, 2012

My Championship Experience - Men's Cross Country Edition

My Championship Experience is a diary blog written by Summit League student-athletes detailing their experiences at each of the 19 Championships. 

Fort Wayne junior Cody Sengthong’s championship experience at the 2012 Summit League Cross Country Championships:

The first day of my experience started off with a nice bagel and a YOYO's caramel apple shake on a glorious Friday morning.  After my morning meal we loaded into the vans and headed North-East for Rochester, Mich.  We left at 9 a.m., which I consider a day to sleep in, because I am used to waking up for practice at 6:57 a.m. every morning.  

During our ride to Oakland I did not think about the race very much because I did not want to get too nervous and anxious before the race even happened.  To keep relaxed I listened to music with my team and talked to my good friend Taylor Crowell most of the way.  We stopped for lunch for the usual Subway about half way there.  When we arrived in Rochester the first place we went to was the course so we could run our pre-meet and get a good look at what the course had to offer.  My first thoughts of the course were, it was going to be a challenge but it would be one that I could overcome.  My legs were feeling kind of tired during the run but I tried not to let that get in my head.  I just kept on thinking to myself that the next day was a new one and I would be fine. 

After we left the course we checked into our hotel which was very fancy.  We had about two and a half hours to be downstairs and ready for the banquet.  I had a feeling that my team waited until the last minute to get ready because people were still getting dressed on the elevator ride down.  When we first got downstairs for the banquet I think my team took about 59 pictures before we even got into the room where it was held.  The banquet was nice and the food was on point.  As soon as I sat down I drank about six cups of sweet tea because it was so delicious!  Our guest speaker was Neely Spence and she did a great job speaking and giving all of us some motivation for the next day.  After the banquet my team and I headed to our rooms to get ready for the next day.  I hung out around the pool for a bit and talked it up with Alex Quick and Taylor before our team meeting.  After the meeting with my teammates, I headed back to the room and to get some sleep for race day.

I woke up and headed downstairs for breakfast around 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning.  I didn’t eat much because I was nervous about eating too much before the race.  After that we headed to the course and set up camp at our tent that Oakland provided for us.  This was the first time that our team had a tent to camp out in at a race.  I liked having a tent so hopefully this changes in the near future.  I went to warm up with my team as soon as the women’s race started.  I was focused at this point and was excited to be there because I know that very few people get to experience what I had experienced the last few years.  Then I spiked up and headed to the line to get my active stretching in.  Throughout this process I kept telling my team that all we needed to do was to do our best and things would fall into place.  We have a very young team and I know that in the near future we will be great. It will just take time, patience, and hard work. 

As soon as the gun went off for the race all of my thoughts and feelings left and all I thought about was racing.  I love to race and be competitive more so with myself than with others.  I think that if we compare ourselves to others it will only bring us down.  Being a runner is a tough road to follow.  There are no timeouts, half times, or second chances on competition day.  We have one chance to put everything we have worked for on the line.  I wanted to do this for my team and I knew that they were going to be doing the same for me. 

After the race I went straight back to the tent in disappointment.  I felt that I let my team down by not running how I was supposed to but some days you get rained on and I was drenched.  For the most part my team was in the same boat that I was in, but on our cool down I told them that we need to keep our heads held high, that tomorrow was a new day and that we need to take what we experienced and learned from our mistakes so that next time it won’t happen again.  I love my team and would do anything for them and I know they would do the same for me.  What we experienced at this championship was a positive thing even though it seems like it wasn’t. Hitting rock bottom is not fun, but it’s how you deal with getting back up that matters and I know my team is on the rise.

-Cody Sengthong 

Don’t forget to check out the next edition of My Championship Experience as it follows the Women’s Soccer Championship, Nov. 1-4 and throughout the 2012-13 season for coverage at each of The Summit League Championships.

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