Noonan Runs in Cross-Country Nationals
Matt Noonan always felt he had enough talent to compete in Nationals. But, he never finished high enough to qualify, until the regional race a few weeks ago.
"If you would have asked me what I thought I could have got, I would have been like, 'Well, I'm really shooting for a top-10 which would get me to Nationals and maybe fifth or sixth, tops,' Noonan said. "I really didn't think third was possible."
But it was possible and it became his ticket to compete in the Division I Nationals with an at-large invitation.
"I took off quite fast, running a 4:42 for the first mile and that put me at 180th. And 4:42 is way faster than my actual pace. I average 4:59 per mile for the whole thing," Noonan explained. "So, for me, that was taking off fast and that was very hard. But that's where patience comes in. I knew there were some guys who are going to come back, and it happened to be like 90 guys coming back to me. Because I didn't speed up, I actually slowed down. They just slowed down a lot more."
Noonan finished 90th which was about 49 places short of All-American status. According to the MU Athletic website, no Tiger ran that fast since 1977.
Noonan, a senior, says he's still not finished.
"I would really like to make the Olympic Trials the next time around. It would probably be in the steeplechase or the 5k, that's what I'd shoot for."
Noonan hopes his recent success is just the beginning.