Nov. 10, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced the team and individual qualifiers for the 2012 Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships on Saturday. Johnnie Guy earned one of the two individual at-large bids and joins Matthew McClintock to make the trip to the NCAA Championships.
"We are extremely pleased that the NCAA selected Johnnie Guy as an at large individual to compliment Matt McClintock," assistant coach Dave Hartman said. "It's an exciting time for Purdue cross country and track and field that we qualified two true freshmen individuals to the NCAA meet. That bodes extremely well for the future of our program. Now we have to get prepared for their first taste of NCAA competition on Saturday. Both Johnnie and Matt went out and executed an excellent race plan, got out strong, and battled to the end to put themselves in a great position to qualify. We could not be more proud of the effort they put forth."
McClintock finished seventh overall in Friday's Great Lakes Regional in Madison, Wis. That put him among the top four finishers, he was second, who was not on a team that qualified for the NCAA Championships. Guy was finished fifth among such competitors in the region and had to wait and see if he would earn one of only two at-large bids.
"We were on the way home last night trying to do the math to see if Johnnie got it," McClintock said about his teammate. "He wasn't expected to be anywhere near where he finished, and was probably predicted to finish in the mid-40s, but he finished 12th and grabbed a qualifying spot. He was very gutsy all race and I was very proud of him and very excited for him to make it."
"I was very excited to find out I made it," Guy said excitedly. "I thought I would make it after talking to coach yesterday, but I didn't want to get my hopes up before it was official. I went for a run this morning and when I got back the guys were waiting for me in the locker room. They jumped on me and were yelling and they were really excited for me. I am just super, super excited to make it especially since I am a freshman and wasn't expected to make it and to grab one of the at-large bids is exciting. It will be really great to run alongside Matt. We don't have much experience, but we will probably run together for a bit of the race. It will be comforting to have that especially on that stage. It's a huge step for Purdue to have not one, but two guys qualify. It shows how much potential this team has for years to come. If we keep getting better, we should be a force for years to come."
McClintock's time of 30:57 and seventh place finish was impressive as was Guy's time of 31:20 for 12th place. More impressive is the fact that both did so in their first ever 10,000-meter race and as true freshmen. McClintock also tied for 10th place all-time on the Purdue list for fastest 10k at the NCAA Regional Championships. McClintock tied Jim Nagle's mark from 1983 at Michigan State. McClintock is the first Boilermaker to crack that list since 1986. McClintock also owns the third fastest 8,000-meter run time for a Boilermaker at the Big Ten Championships with a time of 24:03.7, just 0.7 seconds behind Nagle, which he ran two weeks ago.
"The team performance yesterday was the most impressive thing for me," McClintock said. "It was fun to accomplish something as a group of guys especially when we weren't expected to do nearly as well as we did. It hasn't been for a while that we finished seventh in the region. Being that we were all freshmen and sophomores, it's just awesome that we could all maintain our poise in such a big race. It's going to be awesome to have a teammate next to me in the starting box at NCAAs, especially a guy like Johnnie who is my roommate. It will give us great experience to run alongside guys who are really just legends for us and this race will really be about getting experience for us for the next few years."
Purdue is one of just seven schools on the men's side to have two individuals by themselves this year, yet are the only one to do so with a pair of freshmen. Guy and McClintock are the first Boilermaker men to qualify for the NCAA Championships since Caden Shields did so in 2009. The team has not had multiple competitors at the NCAA Championships since 1986 when the men's team qualified.
"It's exciting when you have two young freshmen representing our program on the biggest stage which is the NCAA Championships in collegiate cross country," head coach Lonnie Greene said. "These two young men are carrying the banner for Purdue University. We haven't had representation on the national level in a while and the fact that we do this year is outstanding. It is a testament to the hard work that Dave Hartman has put into this program to be able to qualify two freshmen to the NCAA Championships. I am very proud of his efforts as well as the efforts of our two young men. The future of our program is very bright."
The Big Ten proved to be one of the toughest conferences in the nation again in 2012. On the men's side, four teams earned bids to the NCAA Championships while three others had individuals qualify, including two from Purdue and a pair from Illinois.
The Great Lakes Region also proved one of the best in the country. Five teams qualified for NCAAs on the men's side. The Boilermakers finished just one point out of sixth place.
The University of Louisville will host the NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 17. The race will be held at the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. The women's race is scheduled to begin at noon ET. The men's 10k will follow at 1:15. A live webcast of the race will be aired on NCAA.com.