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The Running Aggie

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COLLEGE STATION — Graham Northcutt loves running so much, he decided to spend part of his summer on the track.

While at Sulphur Springs he lettered four years and three times was the MVP of the cross country team and twice in track. He was a state runner-up in 2007 at the state meet in the 1,600-meter. Twice during his senior year he claimed  district titles, winning both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter races.

Northcutt, a 21-year-old track/cross country athlete at Texas A&M University, always loved the sport even before the recent success enjoyed by the school.

For those non-track fans, the Aggies won not only the men’s, but also the women’s national title in track and field. A huge accomplishment in the track and field ranks in college.

Northcutt is a part of the track program, although not directly a part of the title-winning team, he does contribute training and working out with the members of the team.

“Winning the NCAA track titles was awesome, I watched it with some other A&M athletes on TV,” Northcutt said of the recent Aggie success. “I thought the women would win, they are really good and they were ahead. But for the men to win it also, it all feel right and the won it. I feel like I am a part of it. Even though I did not go to the meet.”

Northcutt credits coach Pat Henry with fielding a team strong enough to get the dual titles. A trick he has also pulled off while at LSU.

“Coach Henry is really strong in recruiting relay teams, sprinters and jumpers,” Northcutt said.

Northcutt works another phase of running taking part in 8K and 10K cross country races in the fall. In the spring, he runs both the indoor and outdoor track from January to May.

“I run about 60-70 miles a week to stay in shape. I usually come home to Sulphur Springs for the summer, but I decided to stay here and work out,” Northcutt said. “It is fun because we work out and run as a group. It is competitive and your times get better because you are working against other runners.”

Northcutt said, “During the indoor season I run the 800 and the 1,000-meter races and in the outdoor I run the 800 and the 1,500-meters.”

“You learn to pace yourself and you have to learn when to move up,” Northcutt said. “That’s the main adjustment I had to do in college. At this level, competing in the Big 12 you go up against some very fast runners. You find yourself going faster just to keep up.”

He ran in several meet with good results. During the outdoor season in the 800-meter he had a time of 1:54.17 (seventh place at USC Invitational); also in the 800, he was 1:54.32 (1st in B section at LSU Alumni Gold); competing in the 1,500-meter he was timed at 3:55.24 (11th at Arizona State Invitational). In the 1,500 -meter he took sixth in a time of 3:58.46 at Texas Invitational.

During the 2008 season he was the sixth runner on the squad during the Big 12 championships taking 58th he was 54th at the South Central Regional meet in Arkansas. He took 15th at the Hawkeye Open and 24th at the A&M Invitational and he was the No. 8 runner for the Aggies in a meet held at Notre Dame.

Northcutt has traveled to meets in California, Illinois, New York, Florida, Iowa and places all over the map.

His running skills paving the way for many Aggie successes on the regional and national level.

Northcutt said his schedule was very busy this year and running both the indoor and outdoor schedule for the track team was hectic.

“I’d never run that much indoors coming from high school,” Northcutt admitted. “ I did not know how different it was. It is not like running outside. The track is different, the air is drier and it’s hard on my lungs. But I got used to it.”

He continued, “The outdoor races can get pretty hot. Just like our training, it gets very humid in College Station.”

But Northcutt has never avoided a challenge. He said he might concentrate on some of the shorter of the distance races. He says he really likes competing in the 800.

“The 800, if I had to pick would be my favorite,” Northcutt said. “It’s an all out sprint for two laps. You have to a good pace and maintain it. Then you have to know when to move up during a tight race. It is really fun.”

Northcutt said competing on the college level takes something some runners don’t have patience.

“It all takes work and learning the system and you have to be patient,” Northcutt said. “A lot of runners who were studs in high school come in and have a hard time handling things. You can be really good in high school and finish 100th or 120 in your first college cross country race.”

Northcutt said, “I had to go through the adjustment to college. To all the talented runners you train with and compete against each time out.”

The recent success of the track program makes Northcutt even want to more training.

“Now that we have a title to defend, I will train even harder,” Northcutt said. “Winning has definitely had an affect round here on our program. The only way I know how to get better is work hard, and we will.”




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