MOUNT PLEASANT – In winning the individual Mid-American Conference Cross Country championship Saturday in Muncie, Ind., sophomore Tecumseh Adams joined exclusive company in the CMU cross country record book.
Adams, who finished in a career-fastest 24:01.6 on the 8K course, became the tenth individual MAC champion in CMU cross country history, and the first male Chippewa to bring that honor back to Mount Pleasant since All-American Tristen Perlberg did so in 2004.
“I knew I wanted to win it,” he said. “That was my main goal, to go out, relax and take off at 5K.”
After taking off at the 5K mark, Adams found himself with a lead at the 6K mark over Eastern Michigan's Terefe Ejigu, and really started to pull away in the final two kilometers, eventually winning by 15 seconds.
“People around me were telling me 'You're doing it, you're breaking him!' and I was getting really, really excited,” he said. “It was pretty cool. At that point I knew I was going to take it.”
In winning the MAC championship this season, the Harbor Springs native and anthropology major managed to cut just over three minutes off his time from the 2009 MAC Championship meet and gain 28 spots in the final overall finish. He surpassed his previous career-best time of 24:26 from earlier this season at the Spartan Invitational by approximately 15 seconds.
In his three races this season, Adams has finished runner-up at the Spartan Invitational, fourth at the Notre Dame Invitational, and 17th at Pre-Nationals. He has been the Chippewas' top runner in each.
He joins a distinguished list of long-distance legends that includes four All-Americans and the runner for whom CMU's annual cross country meet is named, Jeff Drenth. Both Drenth and Ron Johnson won back-to-back MAC championships in 1982-83 and 1985-86, respectively.
Of the eight runners who have won the ten MAC titles, Adams becomes just the third sophomore to accomplish the feat and the first to do so in 26 years, joining Pat Duffy in 1984 and Johnson in 1985.
Next up for Adams is the NCAA Regional meet in Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday Nov. 12, where the Chippewas will attempt to qualify for the National Championships.
“My goal is to get out of the region,” he said. “I'm going to be looking for a top ten spot, and the team is looking for top eight.”
Should Adams qualify with the team by finishing first or second in the region, or individually as one of the top seven runners not on a qualifying team, he will attempt to become the first CMU sophomore runner to claim both MAC championship and All-America honors in the same season.