Hehir overcomes early struggles to win individual Big East championship

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first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 1, 2012 at 10:34 am Contact Melissa: [email protected] In 15 months, redshirt freshman Martin Hehir transformed from not running at all to being the face of the Syracuse men’s cross country program.Hehir won the Big East individual championship and led the team to it’s third Big East title in four years. Missing the nod as Big East champions last year, Hehir was determined to bring the program its last Big East title before departing for the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.“It means a lot to the team and the school especially since it’s our last Big East,” Hehir said. “We really wanted to go out with the title and have it be undisputed”In a tight race at the end, Hehir outlasted Providence’s Shane Quinn, who led for majority of the race.“Other guys started coming from behind us so we started sprinting,” Hehir said. “It just ended up I just started catching Shane Quinn.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHehir said the coaches were on the sidelines screaming and urging them to finish strong.Flying past Quinn, Hehir sprinted to a time of 24:37.20 to edge Quinn by 1.6 seconds.The Orange rebounded for the championship after a disappointing finish in the Wisconsin Invitational. SU came in 11th place at the meet, which featured elite competition.“The Wisconsin race was really our first big race of the season,” Hehir said. “So it was kind of the first race we weren’t going to win.”Wisconsin was not the team’s best race but the Big East Championship was a race of redemption.“It was really important for us to win the last Big East meet that we’ll be in,” head coach Chris Fox said. “We don’t like to lose.”Syracuse started the race pack running, and the runners stayed together until the midway point.Running 12-13 miles a day and a total of 70 miles at the end of the week, the course and volume was familiar to the Syracuse runners.Seventy miles are now easy for Hehir to complete, but he struggled with the training when he first arrived at Syracuse.“He came in a little bit inexperienced,” Fox said. “To tell you the truth in his first six weeks he wasn’t very good.”But Fox said his hard work paid off, and it showed with his performance in the Big East championship. And his head coach thinks he has the potential to earn All-American honors, too.“If I was in his shoes that would be my goal,” Fox said. “It’s a big goal for a freshman, but if he runs like he did on Friday, he has an opportunity for sure.” Commentslast_img

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