There are not many people who are willing to get up at six o’clock in the morning to go running. In Alex Brutvan’s mind, however, this is commonplace.
Brutvan, along with his teammates, gets up early to run several days a week. If you add together all the training that the runners have done throughout the years, cross-country proves to be a grueling sport.
“It’s a rugged sport and it’s not a spectator sport,” Brutvan said. “If you go to a cross country meet, you might see the pack running by two or three times if you are lucky.”
As a freshman, Brutvan was the third-ranked runner on the team and improved his two-mile time by over 30 seconds last season. At the end of his senior season of high school, Brutvan’s two-mile time was 9 minutes and 50 seconds, which was worked down to 9 minutes and 16 seconds this year.
“He is such a good runner because of training and his body type,” Head Coach Mike Ward said. “He is young too, he actually skipped a grade, so this should be his freshman year age-wise. His build and his ability to train and stay motivated are really big things.”
So far this season, Brutvan has shown how much he has improved. In the first meet of the year, at the Sailfish Invitational, Brutvan earned his first collegiate victory and led the Hurricanes to an easy victory. This win gave the ‘Canes their first ever sweep in school history.
“We are just looking to improve upon what we did last year and then keep moving up the next couple of years,” Brutvan said.
After the first race, there was reason to be optimistic, which turned into excitement after the second race. Again, the Hurricanes earned a sweep, and once again, Brutvan won. As a matter of fact, the ‘Canes’ runners took the top seven spots in this meet in an easy victory.
“You have to build an atmosphere where people are going to want to be a part of your program and are going to try hard to succeed,” Ward said.
Thanks to runners like Matt Mulvaney and Alex Brutvan, the men’s cross-country team is closer than ever to achieving this goal. Brutvan has won two consecutive times, and is becoming one of the leaders of this team.
“I’m trying to become as hard of a worker as I can because the guys I’ve seen come through UM didn’t have as good a high school career as me,” Brutvan said. “So I know if I stay dedicated, I can achieve a lot of big things.”
Brutvan feels that hard work is the essential component to being a great cross-country runner.
“No one starts off being a great distance runner, no one can just go out on their first day ever and run five miles in a five minute pace,” Brutvan said. “It’s the only sport that you get your payback only if you are putting in the work, and you reap the benefits of that work.”
According to his coach, the special thing about Brutvan that sets him apart from the other runners is his drive. He has talent, but he also has the drive to work harder and improve.
“He has the ability to be very good and he has the drive to carry it through,” Ward said. “Other runners don’t have that as much as he does. He is committed to being good. A lot of guys want to be good, but he takes it a step further and is actually making it happen.”
Brutvan’s goal for this season is simple. He is not trying to be the greatest runner in school history. He simply wants to improve individually and help the team get better as a whole.
“I’m not looking to break records this year because I still have two more years here,” Brutvan said. “I’m just trying to have a strong year and lead a strong pack this year, and get the freshman on the right track.”
Darren Grossman can be reached at DRG215@aol.com