March 29, 2012
Have you ever seen a student walking around campus with no shoes on? If so, there is a good chance it is Siena Cross Country Freshman runner Nick Grudev!
As a freshman runner, Grudev was unaware of the instant impact he would have on the Siena Cross Country team. With hard work and dedication to the program, Grudev had a large effect on the success of this year’s team. In his first race as a collegiate runner, Grudev finished 40th in the Bryant University Nassaney Invitational with a 5K time of 16:35.36. To conclude the season, in the ECAC/IC4A Championships at Van Cortlandt Park, Grudev ran an 8K in a time of 27:59. With a 3.41 GPA as an undeclared Science major, Grudev has proven to be a scholar student as well. He has managed being a student athlete exceptionally well, and has bright plans for the future.
Cross Country head coach Alison Wade speaks fondly of Grudev, and feels that he has much potential in his next three years as a Saint. She states “Thanks to both a strong work ethic and talent, Nick had one of the best cross country seasons by a Siena freshman in at least 10 years. His time at Van Cortlandt Park—a course we use as a measuring stick because we run it so often—was the second fastest by a Siena freshman in at least 10 years. Only current senior Ian Donnelly ran faster as a freshman.” With lots of positive influences, Wade says, “Nick benefited from having some good upperclassmen to train with, and he’s transitioned well to college running. His first season at Siena is indicative that he’s on his way to many more great accomplishments during his time at Siena.”
With three more exciting years ahead of him, Grudev looks forward to what is to come! Let’s get to know the freshman runner:
How was the transition from high school cross country to college cross country?
The transition wasn’t that bad. I had been used to doing high mileage in high school but the workouts and pace at which we ran definitely were a huge difference. At first I had to adjust to running at a much faster pace. Once I got the hang of it, things started to fall into place and I was able to improve my times.
What advice would you give a runner heading to college?
I would definitely recommend doing cross country or at least trying out for it. Although the work is tough and takes dedication, it’s awesome being on a sports team. I originally wasn’t sure if I wanted to run in college but after signing my NLI and arriving at school for the first practice I was so happy I did it. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. You also get into great shape!
What is your spring “track” season like? What do you like about it or not like about it?
The spring track season consists of about 4 meets in various places. We go to Tufts, MIT, and a few other places. The longer break between seasons really gives our legs a rest compared to teams that have an “official” track season.
What ways do you train differently for the spring than the fall?
In the spring we do more speed work compared to the fall when we’ll do more threshold and tempo workouts. In the spring we’ll do shorter workouts at a faster pace whereas in the fall we’ll do longer workouts at a slower pace. Most of the workouts overlap though.
What does your summer training look like to gear up for your fall season?
My summer training is going to be pretty intense. This summer I’m looking to try and get 80-90 miles as my highest week. I’m also hoping to hold 70 miles for a few weeks. I just want to stay healthy and go into the season in great shape. Staying healthy and being in great shape are tough to balance in our sport. The wear and tear on the body is incredible.
What are your goals for the team in your next three years?
My goals on the team for the next three years are to definitely keep improving in the MAAC. This year we got 7th which is better than last year. This coming year I know we can get 4th or 5th and keep moving up the ladder. I also want us to improve in the region. I see great potential in our team and the new freshmen coming in so I’m excited for the future. The main focus right now is conference. I believe we can show everyone that we’re a force to reckon with down in Florida (next year MAAC’s are at Disney World).
This year, the team had an extremely strong finish. What factors do you think contributed to this success?
The dedication of the guys on the team really helped. Everyone really believed we could improve from last season and that’s exactly what we did. Our senior leadership was also great. Ian Donnelly really provided great leadership and is one of the big factors why we succeeded.