By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo native Robert Scribner and his Hansons-Brooks Distance Project teammates won the men’s national club cross country championship last weekend in Lexington, Ky.
“I think we were being a little underrated going into the race,” Scribner said Friday. “Not a lot of people were picking us to win, maybe because a couple of our better guys couldn’t run due to injury.
“But we went into the race thinking we had a good chance. We wanted to make a statement about the depth and quality of our team.”
Scribner finished 30th overall to help his squad, which was led by overall winner Jacob Riley, a former Stanford standout.
Riley’s winning time on a tough 10K course was 29:58.365. Scribner finished in 31:16.054.
“I was OK with my time,” Scribner said. “I was hoping to be in the top 20, but I’m pleased to have been a scoring member of the team. I feel like I did my part.”
It rained for several days before the race, Scribner said. “It was the hardest cross country race I’d ever done but also kind of fun. The course was very hilly, in a horse park, with very slow conditions. You really pay the price if you start out too fast.”
Hansons-Brooks, based in Michigan, scored 50 points to 77 for the runners up, the Team Asics Aggie Running Club. The team finished second in the event a couple of years ago, while Scribner was recovering from an injury.
The 27-year-old Scribner, who makes his home in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills, Mich., won a state cross country title at Tupelo High School in 2003. He qualified for the NCAA nationals at Mississippi State in 2008.
“The cool thing about the national club championship is that it’s a team thing, and you don’t get a lot of that kind of racing after college,” Scribner said. “If it was just an individual race, there might not be the incentive in the last mile – what’s the difference between finishing 30th and finishing 35th?
“But in a team race, you feel like you’re part of something bigger and you don’t want to let your teammates down.”