Cross CountrySports

Athlete of the Week: Matt Centrowitz

The junior from Arnold, Md. and son of Oregon distance running great Matt Centrowitz was the lead Duck at the Bill Dellinger Invitational, finishing fourth overall during the 8,000m men’s race. Centrowitz finished 45th overall in last year’s NCAA Cross Country Championships, and was the fourth Oregon runner to cross the finish line as the Ducks took home a second straight national championship.

Oregon Daily Emerald: What was your individual race plan for the Dellinger? What were you looking to do?

Matthew Centrowitz: Last year, I finished ninth (at the Dellinger). Anywhere near there; I knew that the field here was just as good (as last year’s). A lot of top guys were returning from last year, so for the first race if I could finish ninth, maybe — running fifth was my goal — as the race went on, I just kind of went after that.

ODE: How did you feel about the overall team performance?

MC: Since I was up front, I kind of saw what the top guys were doing. There was a couple performances where some of our runners didn’t have a great race, like Luke (Puskedra), but it’s a lot tougher coming back another year. I know he’s been training really hard, I know he’s in great shape. Regardless of what the team performance was, we’re all confident that we’ll bounce back. It’s only our first race.

ODE: What makes such a performance tougher? (Puskedra finished third in last year’s race; he finished 11th on Friday.)

MC: Like, with Luke last year, there was no pressure on him. I remember at this race, wondering if he was even going to be in our top seven, and he ends up finished third. Having no pressure at every single race and kind of out-doing yourself, and coming back next year and being only a sophomore on a top-ranked team, and having all this pressure about winning, it’s just hard to deal with. I know, me being my third year, I started to deal with it last year and I’ll deal with some of it this year. He’s a young guy, and he did a great job last year. There’s not much more you can do.

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