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Muhlenberg College

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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Field hockey honor

NCAA Preview
Trophy to run in NCAA cross country

A trophy can sit on a mantle and collect dust, but this Torphy is on the move.

Junior Bobby Torphy of the Muhlenberg men’s cross country team qualified Bobby Torphy to compete in the NCAA Division III Championships, to be held at Highland Park Golf Course in Cleveland on Saturday. He is one of 280 runners entered in the field – seven from each of 32 qualifying teams, and the top seven finishers from non-qualifying teams in each of the eight regional races.

Torphy had to wait a day after finishing 22nd in the Mideast Regional to find out if NCAA cross country he had made the national field, which was contingent on the NCAA inviting two at-large teams from the region. As it turned out, the NCAA awarded three at-large berths to Mideast teams.

“A lot of people were thinking I was going to get in based on how other teams in our region looked, so in that respect I wasn’t too anxious,” Torphy said. “My main goal was getting all-region. Going to nationals is just a plus.”

Torphy succeeded in achieving his primarily goal by running a smart strategic race and not going out too fast. He was only around 75th place after the first mile but began passing people in the latter stages of the race.

“In the past the second mile has always gotten the best of me on that course,” he said. “This time I tried to stay relaxed, and I built up momentum for the rest of the way.”

Trying to stay relaxed will be a challenge at a national meet, where the stakes, not to mention the overall quality, are much higher. “Everyone is going to be so close together in a race of that caliber,” said Torphy. “I’m always going to have people around me to chase, and in the last mile I feel I can make up a lot of ground.”

Torphy will be able to draw on his past national championship experience, not with cross country but with indoor track. He was a member of the Mule distance medley relay team that competed at the NCAA Championships in Indiana in March. The foursome did very well against the best in Division III, placing fourth to earn All-America honors.

“When I went [to nationals] last year it put everything into perspective,” said Torphy. “The guys there are just as mortal as everyone else, so it won’t be that intimidating.”

When the gun goes off Saturday at noon, Torphy will become the 11th different member of the Muhlenberg men’s cross country team to compete in the NCAA Championships since 2001. One of those 11, David Chorney ’09, ran in the national race three times and offered Torphy the following advice: “The race is so close – a matter of 20 seconds can be a matter of 30 places. Have a goal in mind and do whatever you can to reach that goal.”

So what is Torphy’s goal? “I’m going to shoot for the top 100,” he said. If he makes it, he will be the third Mule runner to do so. That might merit giving Torphy a trophy.
Click here or on the logo for the meet site.

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