Edwardson races at Nationals


by Nicole Dillenburg

Ryan Edwardson finished 205th of 279 at the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships after leading the Storm to the program’s highest regional finish since 1995 last week.

Edwardson finished in 25:59.79 in the last race of his college career.

Edwardson earned the region’s last automatic qualifying bid with a time of 25:29. With this qualification, Edwardson became Simpson’s first two-time national qualifier since 1987 and 1989.

This was Edwardson’s second time competing in the national meet.

“It’s very exciting to be running at the NCAA championships again,” Edwardson said. “It is an opportunity that most college runners do not get to experience, so I am ecstatic about all this.”

Much sweat, hard work and dedication went into Edwardson’s preparation.

“This season has been tougher than past seasons in terms of training,” Edwardson said. “Last year I was averaging about 50-55 miles a week, whereas this year coach bumped me up to 65-70 for most of the season.”

Edwardson said he learned from last year’s experience and make the most of his last go around.

“If you look at photos from last year’s national meet, you can noticeably see a look of panic on my face,” Edwardson said. “That cannot be there this year; I have to be calm, even though this is the biggest stage I have ever run on.”

Head coach Heath Moenck gave Edwardson some words of advice on how to approach this year’s championships.

“I told Ryan to leave his fanny pack and binoculars at home this year,” Moenck said. “Last year Ryan was just happy to be a part of the national meet; this year he is no longer satisfied with being just a participant.”

Edwardson’s teammates said he has provided an example to the rest of the team by showing what it takes to get to the next level.

“Ryan is an incredible runner, puts in the time and has the drive to get the most out of every day,” senior Matt Stone said. “He helps to push the rest of the team to do work hard every day.”

Prior to nationals Edwardson focused more on mentally preparing and less on the physical aspects of the competition.

“We will keep with the same structure all week, but the work load will be reduced,” Moenck said. “Now is the time to focus on becoming sharp and getting mentally prepared.”

Edwardson had a lot of support from the team before and during nationals.

“We will include the entire team this week as much as possible,” Moenck said. “Both squads are extremely proud of Ryan and are happy to support him during these last practices.”

Besides Moenck’s inspirational words and the supportive efforts of his teammates, Edwardson found motivation from numerous sources.

“I am simply a very competitive person,” Edwardson said. “In addition to that though, I have a strong desire to represent myself, my team, my school, and most importantly my God honorably in everything I do.”

Finishing the season with no regrets and leaving everything on the course is what Edwardson strives for.

“This means putting my entire heart and soul into everything,” Edwardson said. “I cannot be fully satisfied with giving a halfhearted effort.”

After so many years of competing, Edwardson finds himself a runner without another competition, though running will always be a part of his life.

“I am a runner; this is what I do,” Edwardson said.