On January 10th, USATF will once again field a team of runners at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country race, and the team has a distinctive North Carolina streak running through it. In particular, there will be three athletes with ties to NC State competing for Team USA: one former great who has moved onto the professional running circuit, one current team member that had a phenomenal debut season, and one inbound recruit that will join the pack in the fall.
The Past: Bobby Mack
Mack returns to the Senior Men's 8K race after finishing 4th last year and winning the event the previous year. He excelled at North Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem, finishing second in the 2002 4A cross country championship and running a leg on a 7:48.79 4x800 that was a state record at the time. During his years at NC State, Mack made the NCAA Championship several times, earning All-American honors during the 2004 fall season. He has continued to progress in his post-collegiate career, with the highlight being his trip to the 2010 World Cross Country Championship.
The Present: Mary Grace Doggett
After completing a distinguished career at Cardinal Gibbons that included two individual NCHSAA 3A cross country championships, Doggett moved on to NC State and got a lot better. She posted a 5K PR of 16:47 at Notre Dame in early October, then ran solid 6K times as part of the Wolfpack's top 7 for the ACC Championship and NCAA Championship. Doggett will participate in the Junior Women's 4K in Edinburgh, along with a future teammate...
The Future: Ryen Frazier
USATF was definitely watching the Foot Locker National races, because they selected the top three girls and two of the top three boys from Balboa Park. Frazier will join Anna Rohrer (IN) and Makena Morley (MT) as teammates this time, and next year she will join Doggett on the NC State roster. Just in case you've been out of the country or just recently acquired internet capabilities, Frazier posted a 16:27 at Foot Locker South before finishing 2nd to Rohrer at nationals, and has also run 4:44 and 10:12 in recent months.