With the SEC championships coming up this week, senior runner Michael Hans looks to repeat his past performances to help give Georgia cross country a victory in the upcoming event.
Historically, Hans has performed really well at this event. At the 2018 SEC Championships, Hans finished 1st among the Georgia runners and 26th overall with a time of 23:44.6.
In order to repeat his performance alongside strong runners present this year, Hans has been preparing since summer training.
“Michael’s such a hard working guy,” said distance coach Patrick Cunniff. “He does all the work to prepare himself, and in turn that gives him the confidence to perform when it’s time.”
On top of his physical attributes and work ethic, Hans also benefits the team as a whole with his experience as a senior runner. He is one of four seniors on the men’s team.
“[Hans] will give the experience and the sense of calm that is so important when you get to these bigger meets,” Cunniff said.
Due to these virtues of Hans, he is expected to make his mark yet again on the event this year. Cunniff said they expect him to be in the top three or four for Georgia.
While Hans is expected to be a top running prospect for the Georgia team going into this race, he didn’t hesitate to emphasize the challenges that this season has had and will bring.
Hans mentioned this season has been especially challenging due to all the COVID-19 precautions and how it has been hard to have team bonding experiences and interactions while training.
“This year’s been the most mentally draining year I think we’ve ever seen,” Hans said. “It’s super hard … [to] train on your own and achieve the same results that you see while training with the team.”
Furthermore, Hans highlighted the challenges of the SEC championships itself.
“[The] SEC’s this year is more competitive than I think it has ever been. I know it’s really kind of an up and coming conference in distance running,” Hans said. “It’s just an honor to … go out there and really be a part of it.”
Despite these challenges, Hans and the rest of the cross country team look to have a strong showing at the SEC championships and are ready to compete. After the men’s team finished first and the women’s team finished fourth at the Florida State Invitational, Hans said that it adds to the pressure of performing well on Friday’s event.
“Hopefully we’re gonna have a great day at SEC’s,” Hans said. “We want to be up there competing with some of the best teams in the conference.”