TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State freshman John Mascari returns to the course where he set the Sycamore cross country 8,000 meter record as he competes in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.
For the first time in eight years, the NCAA Championships will not be held on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. The University of Louisville is the host school for the 2012 Championships which will be held at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park with the women’s 6,000 meter race scheduled for 12:00 p.m. (ET) with the men’s 10,000 meter race at 1:15 p.m. (ET).
Mascari became the seventh member of the Indiana State men’s cross country team to advance to the Championships after finishing seventh at the Great Lakes Region Championship last Friday. The freshman placed seventh at the Great Lakes Region Championships in Madison, Wis., as he ran the 10,000 meter race in a personal best 30:56 which is the fourth fastest in Indiana State history.
He joins former Sycamores Charles Warthan (1970 and 1971), Kyle Hobbs (1991), Jason Gunn (1999 and 2000), Justin Kunz (2006), Scott Keeney (2008), and Eric Schulz (2009) in advancing to the National Championships.
Mascari is the fourth Sycamore to finish in the top 10 of the Region Championship and the second highest finisher. Eric Schulz finished sixth at the 2009 Regional with Kyle Hobbs eighth in 1991 and Jason Gunn eighth in 1999.
“John stayed up there and ran a great race,” McNichols said after the region championship. “It was great for our program and I look forward to watching him race at the NCAA Championships in Louisville.”
This is the fifth straight year and the seventh out of the last eight championships that Indiana State has had at least one runner be named to the All-Region team. Mascari became the 17th Sycamore to finish in the top 25 of the Regional Championship and earn All-Region recognition.
Mascari set the school record in the 8,000 meters at E. P. Tom Sawyer State Park at the Pre-National Invitational held on Oct. 13 as he finished 34th out of 274 runners with a personal best time of 23:55.4. The freshman followed that up by becoming the first Missouri Valley Conference individual champion for the Sycamore men, winning the conference championship with a time of 24:21 on Oct. 27 at Illinois State University.
A LITTLE HISTORY:
Charles Warthan has the best finish at the NCAA Championships by a Sycamore as he placed 41st at the 1970 Championship held at William & Mary College. The race was six miles with Warthan finishing in 29:16. He also ran in the 1971 Championships at Tennessee where he finished the six mile run in 31:11 and placed 72nd overall.
Kyle Hobbs was the first Sycamore to compete at the NCAA Championships after the race was changed to 10,000 meters as he finished 91st (32:23) in the 1991 Championships held at Arizona.
Jason Gunn is the only other Sycamore to compete in back-to-back championships as he ran in the 1999 Championships at Indiana and the 2000 Championships at Iowa State. Gunn ran 33:16 at Indiana (188th place) and improved that time to 31:19 at Iowa State (86th place).
Three Sycamores have run in the National Championship since Indiana State was named the host school from 2002 to 2011. Justin Kunz ran 32:20 (76th) in the 2006 Championship with Scott Kenney finishing in 31:46 at the 2008 Championship (196th), and Eric Schulz was timed in 31:23 at the 2009 Championships (151st).
Indiana State first hosted the NCAA Championships in 2002 with the site moved to Northern Iowa in 2003 before returning to Terre Haute from 2004 through 2011. The 2012 Championships are in Louisville, Ky., but return to the Wabash Valley for the 2013 Championships