By Keenan Lo
The Sewanee Purple Athlete of the week is Mark McAlister (C’17). McAlister is both a runner and captain of the Men’s Cross Country team at Sewanee, and has recently chosen to lead the team by example. At the Berry Invitational on October 15th, McAlister came in fifth place out of 189 runners, finishing the 8k race with a time of 25:59.10. With this impressive performance, Sewanee ended up winning the Berry Invitational. When asked about his performance and the team’s performance, McAlister said “Our race at Berry was very exciting. Personally, for me, breaking 26 minutes in the 8k has been a goal of mine for years. As a freshman I ran 26:34 and knew it was possible, but through my sophomore and junior years I could never break that time. This year I ran 26:25, showing me I could go faster and two weeks later I ran 25:59. After so many races, it felt so great to finally push through the 26 minute barrier. Our team performance also was amazing. Finishing 1st out of 18 teams (both DIII and DI schools) is no easy feat, but the men’s team rose to the occasion.” In a recent stretch where Sewanee sports have been struggling, it was nice to have the cross country team pick up a huge win, and McAlister played a key part in this win.
With the Men’s Cross Country team picking up big wins like this, there are some high expectations for the team that come with it. The Tigers are currently sixth in the region, and have won several invitationals this year. The Tigers won the Berry Invitational on October 15th, but also won the Mountain Top Invitational on September 2nd. When asked about the success this team has enjoyed this year, runner Ben Murray (C’19) stated “We’re looking to go for a top spot in the conference race, with our only real rival left being Rhodes. After that, we hope to do well enough in the region championship to maybe qualify for nationals. We have some super good freshman as well as some strong seniors to lead, and as far as I’m concerned we can do anything.” Through the leadership of McAlister and the motivation of his teammates, the Men’s Cross Country team is becoming a force to be reckoned with in their region. McAlister ends by saying “Since freshman year we have been working and building up a strong team, and now as seniors we are there. It’s exciting looking forward and thinking about what we can do this week at conference and later at regionals!”
All stats were provided by Sewanee Athletics (http://sewaneetigers.com)