Porter is the first male runner from Azusa Pacific to compete in the NCAA D-II National Championship race
Azusa Pacific’s Jeremy Porter finished out his senior cross country season at the NCAA D-II National Championships in Evansville, Indiana this past weekend.
The senior completed the 10k race with a time of 33:33.1, which gave him a finishing place of 141st.
He began the race out in 152nd place in the first kilometer but then fought his way all the way up to 64th place around the middle of the race. Porter reached the halfway point in 15:39.1, but his placed slowed down at the fifth and sixth kilometers as the rest of the pack moved ahead. Porter dropped outside of the top 100 but then picked up his pace towards the end to close out the race.
“I had a pretty bad start for the quality of race I wanted to race, and once I realized how far back I was, I had to move really quickly from there. I expended too much energy at that point, and after that I hit a wall,” Porter said.
Head coach Preston Grey knew how different this race would be from the rest this season.
“The atmosphere is the biggest thing. Parts of the course have people lined up three-to-four people deep. There’s constantly people the entire way, and there’s more energy and buzz than any other race. It’s a pretty exciting environment to race, because everyone in this meet is so good,” Grey said. “When things go south, it happens fast, because all the runners are so good. While it’s a great environment to race, it really tests you as well.”
This race was not only a big race for Porter, but for the Azusa Pacific men’s cross country program in general, as Porter became the only male runner to compete in the NCAA D-II National Championship race.
“It was a tough road to get here. Jeremy’s blazing a trail as the first one from Azusa Pacific to make it to nationals. The first nationals experience is always a big learning curve, but I think he showed the guys the path to get here and that’s a great step for the program. We knew this was a possibility, but last year the regional race was really tough, so to get from there to here is a really long road,” Grey said. “He had to figure some things out, and he did that. It means a lot for the program to be represented at nationals.”
Porter looks to continue his success through the track and field season coming up in the 5k and 10k races.