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Sports

December 5, 2013

Newburyport's national champion: Suda wins 2nd NIRCA title in 3 years

Suda wins NIRCA title for 2nd time in 3 years

(Continued)

“I made this meet my goal back in May,” Suda said. “I wanted to focus on this race and do plenty of cross-country running in the fall. Last year, the course tore me up. I wasn’t really prepared, and the other girls were faster and stronger. Ninth was fine, I was proud of that. It wasn’t a great race, but I did the best I could despite not being trained for it.”

Training under Will Harding with Florida Track Club, Suda sought out hills, trails and athletic fields on which to train this fall. She found the sugar-sand trails in Florida strengthened the muscles in her feet, giving her more stability during races.

Newburyport cross-country coach Don Hennigar often uses Suda as an example of how much a runner can improve through hard work and perseverance. Suda started running cross-country in 1996, her freshman year at Newburyport. In 1997, she was the No. 3 Newburyport runner on the 1997 state champion team. By her senior year in 1999, she achieved All-Cape Ann League honors. She continued her running career at Emmanuel College, helping to establish a program at the Boston school.

Suda will continue to train with Florida Track Club this winter in preparation for the indoor and outdoor track seasons. She struggled to pinpoint the biggest factor in her ascent from inexperienced high school runner to collegiate national champion.

“I don’t think it’s one thing,” Suda said. “I love running. I don’t know how to give up. I’ve just stuck with it. For women, if you stick with the sport and stay healthy, and keep positive and motivational people around you, it helps you achieve your goals. It’s amazing what can happen.”

The NIRCA National Championships

Results

Place, name School Time

1. Betsy Suda University of Florida 22:22

2. Cara Donohue University of Minnesota 22:42

3. Anna Gordon University of Virginia 22:44

4. Alyssa Vassallo University of North Carolina 22:51

5. Sarah Sisson University of Virginia 22:51

The NIRCA National Championships Results Place, name School Time 1. Betsy Suda University of Florida 22:22 2. Cara Donohue University of Minnesota 22:42 3. Anna Gordon University of Virginia 22:44 4. Alyssa Vassallo University of North Carolina 22:51 5. Sarah Sisson University of Virginia 22:51

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