Confident Sandusky heads to the home stretch of the cross-country ski season


Megan Coffey

Director / Strategic Brand Engagement

CINCINNATI – Cross country training is not as easy as it looks. It takes time, commitment and a lot of racing to prepare for great races.

Graduate student Alec sandusky was no stranger to training preparation when he transferred to Cincinnati in 2020 after racing for three seasons at the University of Northern Kentucky. He said the training is strategic, with a lot of structure.

“You have to have specific training for running, it’s not just about going out there and running, it’s about going out there and running with a goal. you do should have a goal, so running isn’t as easy as you think. “

Sandusky originally came to UC with the intention of running a season as the Bearcat. He lined up his senior season because of the considerable time he devoted to teaching students, which allowed him to have one more year of eligibility. He started looking for schools for higher education and Cinicnnati caught his eye. It helped that a friend of his, Andrew Schille, was on the UC cross country team at the time and had recently transferred from NKU himself.

“The fact that he talks about his experiences really pushed me over the edge. I visited here and a few other schools, but the opportunities I knew I was going to get here made me think it was there. ‘place to be and the team around me was truly sealed to me. “

It also helped that an integrated training partner, the cross-country superstar Aaron Bienenfeld, was also at UC and provided Sandusky with the opportunity to train with an elite cross country runner.

“Coming in I wanted to learn from him and see how good I could be. It really turned out to be a great partnership, we had to push each other. I think we surprised each other because that we didn’t think I ‘would be that good, “Sandusky said.” I was able to take it to a whole new level. I think when you have someone who is willing to put in the effort and work with you, it makes everything so much easier.

And they did it together, as Sandusky and Bienenfeld turned out to be a double for the Bearcats and elevated his running game.

At the 2020 AAC Cross Country Championships, Bienenfeld finished third and Sandusky fifth, both winning conference honors.

He also became the 18th man to represent the Bearcats at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Sandusky set a new personal best in the 5000m with a time of 12: 43.02 at the Camel City Invitational. screened in the NCAA Top 10 and ranked No. 6 and No. 2 respectively in the UC Record Book. In the 3000m of the H-Town Speed ​​City series, he managed to set another personal best with a time of 7: 53.78, sufficient for 12th place in the NCAA and his second place No.2 in the record. UC’s all-time book.

At the 2021 AAC Outdoor Championships, he placed second with a final time of 29: 55.97 to complete the 1-2 punch on the podium for the Bearcats and also qualified for the 2021 NCAA Outdoor East regionals. .

He admits that running with Bienenfeld almost every day has made him a stronger and faster runner.

“It sets you up for the big stage, you have someone who was already good enough to compete nationally, then you have a major training partner. It sets you up just for now. We both got to do it. really big things and it was a really spectacular and fun season last year. “

Despite last season’s success, it was also unique, with the fall season inevitably being pushed back to spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This change, along with the limited number of trips and competitions in which to participate, the NCAA granted an additional year of eligibility to any student-athlete who participated in the 2020-21 season.

This provided Sandusky with the opportunity to come back and run one more collegial season and score even more on the cross country program. And so far he’s been strong this season.

At the Butler Twilight Invite this season, the men’s team took first place of the six teams in attendance, winning five of the top ten places for UC. Sandusky placed first in the overall men’s 6km standings with a time of 17: 42.00, which also earned him the AAC Men’s Rider of the Week title on September 7.

At the Notre Dame Invitational, he won his second race of the season in the men’s 5-mile gold division with a time of 25: 03.2, which earned him his second AAC Male Runner of the Week award of the season on October 5. .

The team are currently in the home stretch of their season, preparing for the AAC Championships first, and feel like they are running with a little chip on their shoulders.

“I think this year in the leaderboard we think we haven’t gotten the credit we deserve, but we haven’t had a chance to prove it yet. I think we can go out and shake it up. ‘Before. Before it was just Aaron going out there trying to beat the top. Now we have a team that I think we can compete with overall, which is exciting for us.

The team has got to work and are ready to compete, but know they are focused on the task at hand.

“As much as we want to say we’re good enough, we have to go out there and prove it. This next part of the season is the most important, it’s really where we have to squat and do the little things, and I think we have some really big things to come if we do this. “

For up-to-the-minute updates on race day and results, follow UC Track & Field / Cross Country (@GoBearcatsTFXC) on Twitter, Facebook (GoBarcatsTFXC) and Instagram (GoBarcatsTFXC) and join the conversation using the hashtag #BarcatsTFXC

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