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UVa Men's Cross Country Quickly Approaching Postseason

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The UVa men's cross country team runs 80-90 miles per week The UVa men's cross country team runs 80-90 miles per week
Brent Demarest finished in 5th place at the Virginia/Panorama Invitational Brent Demarest finished in 5th place at the Virginia/Panorama Invitational
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

You don't have to be a morning person to be on the UVa men's cross country team, but it helps.

Redshirt junior Brent Demarest says, "I think the earliest practice this year has been 6 AM.  So that means getting up at 5:30, rolling out of bed, getting here to practice, hopping in the van, and driving somewhere."

Sophomore Ari Klau adds, "I know not everyone on the team is a morning person, but coming out here with your best friends and just going through it all together makes it a lot easier."

But the runs aren't easy. 

The 'Hoos are logging a lot of miles every day.

"Twelve to fifteen, kind of broken up," says head coach Pete Watson.  "Some days are a little harder, and some days are a little easier.  But we try and do 80-90 miles a week."

The Cavaliers finished first at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational last month. 

That's one of just two races they run during the regular season.

"Yeah, it's pretty crazy," says Watson.  "It's a weird sport like that."

Senior Chase Weaverling says, "It's crazy.  Once we run our first race, it kind of flies from there."

UVa will compete at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in its regular season finale next weekend.

"That's going to be a huge race for us," says Weaverling.  "Wisconsin is a great race because it's really similar to nationals, with a really competitive field.  You really have to get out hard, and race in a big pack."

There will be over three-hundred runners on the course. 

That's three-times as many as there were at Panorama Farms.

Demarest says, "It's pretty stressful, because you're running with a big group of guys.  You can't really move around.  You have to push your way through, if you want to get anywhere."  

The Cavaliers goal this season is to get a Top Ten finish at nationals for just the second time in program history, and the first time since 1984.

Watson says, "There are 331 schools in cross country.  To be where we are is good.  Our track team has gotten into the Top Ten the last couple of years.  Now it's time for the cross country boys to do the same score of thing."  
  
"We have a really good group, so I think we have a shot," says Klau.

Virginia has finished between 12th and 22nd at the NCAA Championships in 10 of the last 11 years.