Despite New York City billboard, SU cross country team attempts to stay grounded

first_imgAfter winning back-to-back Big East championships, the Syracuse men’s cross country team is enjoying its celebrity status as SU prepares for the NCAA Northeast Regional this weekend. Celebrity that comes with a billboard in the middle of Times Square. During the weekend, that billboard was put up in Times Square to congratulate the team on its efforts, showing a picture of SU holding its championship banner. American Eagle Outfitters sponsored the event and put up the display that was more than 30 stories high. Although the company will be doing the same throughout the year for other Big East champions, SU is the first. ‘It was kind of surprising,’ SU head coach Chris Fox said. ‘We had heard that the Big East was putting something together for Times Square, but we didn’t know it would be on that grand of a scale. Taking up half of a building is kind of cool.’ Fox said he isn’t letting the extra exposure affect his team’s focus, as the Orange has an important week ahead of it. Fox is making sure his team will be rested and mentally focused as it looks to repeat as regional champions again.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text ‘We have to go there and still do the job so you can get to nationals,’ Fox said. Redshirt freshman Sean Keefe is happy his program is finally getting the recognition he feels it deserves, but he is also content on staying motivated and finishing the season strong. ‘After Big East, a lot of us were pretty worn out,’ Keefe said. ‘But last week we had a pretty good week of training, and it gave us one last chance to get ready before regionals and nationals.’ Keefe said he understands the importance of the next couple of days, as success at week’s end will be just another example of how the program is evolving. ‘It’s kind of been like a changing of the guard this year because we lost some good seniors last year,’ Keefe said. ‘The team is pretty young, but we are starting to mature as a whole.’ After last season’s debacle at nationals, the team has had the dates of its next two meets circled on its calendar for months. With regionals being the final stop before it lines up next to the best teams in the country, junior runner Pat Dupont recognizes the magnitude of the moment. Training has been switched up this year. So has the team’s mentality. All with the goal of more than a billboard in mind. The team wants success at nationals instead. ‘I think we’re in a real good place right now,’ Dupont said. ‘This year we adjusted our training a little bit so that we could run faster later in the season. Last year it was all about getting to nationals, and this year it’s about running well when we get there.’ And after the billboard graced midtown-Manhattan, when the team gathered for practice on Monday afternoon, all eyes were focused on the SU coach. Following the recognition of a billboard in the heart of New York City over the weekend, Fox gave the Orange some inspirational yet down-to-earth words to chew on before SU rests up for this weekend. ‘These guys stay motivated because this is the time of year we train for,’ Fox said. ‘This is kind of like our bowl season, so if you’re not motivated now, you shouldn’t do the sport.’ cjphil01@syr.edu Published on November 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

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