The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Men’s cross country looks to send someone to nationals

Fifth year senior Adam Swanson is looking to be the 12th runner from Eastern to make it to the NCAA National Championship meet. (File)

In all of Eastern’s 128-year history, only 11 runners have made it to the NCAA Cross Country National Championships.

The most recent nationals runner from Eastern was Dustin Hatfield in 2021 (Placed 77th). We need to go back two decades to find the next runner, Jason Bialka, who made nationals in 2001 (Placed 99th).

This lengthy gap between Eastern national runners should underscore how difficult the journey to the pinnacle of collegiate Cross Country is.

What if I told you there is a runner from Eastern who is pushing for a national entrance a mere three years after Hatfield at the NCAA Cross Country Midwest Regional meet in Stillwater, Oklahoma today.

This man is fifth year senior Adam Swanson, and his stats make the claim that he could make a nationals run to finish off his 2023 season.

Dustin Hatfield ran a 24:31.50 8k time in the 2021 Ohio Valley Conference Championship, earning him first place. This was a fast time, no doubt. Hatfield was a full 18 seconds in front of second place runner Jamie Marcos who ran a 24:49.10.

Adam Swanson finished the same race in 2023 with a time of 23:33.60. Almost a minute faster than Hatfield’s time, the year he made nationals.

A point must be made that, on average, runners are finishing roughly one minute faster today than they were two years ago. Even with this fact in mind and adding a minute, Swanson is going toe to toe with a national runner.

Swanson had the aforementioned Hatfield to look up too from the beginning of his career at Eastern in 2019 until Hatfield graduated after the 2022 season. During this four-year stretch, the pair raced together in three OVC championships and two NCAA Regional Championships.

Other runners to look out for during regionals today are sophomore Micheal Atkins and senior Richie Jacobo. Atkins finished 17 seconds behind Swanson and placed third in the OVC championship. Jacobo finished 25 seconds behind Swanson and etched a spot at sixth.

The three headed monster of Swanson, Atkins, and Jacobo will certainly be a force to be reckoned with come Friday.

Freshman Joe Stoddard will also be competing at regionals. He finished 18th at the OVC championship with a time of 24:35.50.

Swanson and company will be runners to keep an eye on during the regionals meet. The men will run at 11:30 central time.

Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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