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Madsen, men miss Nationals

by Chuck Cordill, staff writer


Christian Madsen races against his most persistent foe. Time.

Madsen, an HPU senior from Denmark, is the team captain of the 2002 Sea Warrior cross country squad. In fact, Head Coach Vien Schwinn was so impressed with Madsen’s approach that she put him charge of the teams’ training regimen. Her faith in the captain paid off. The Sea Warriors sent seven men and five women to the NCAA II Western Regionals in California.

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“Christian is not only the best runner in the state at the 10 k level, he’s probably one of the best in the nation at this level,” said Schwinn. “I let him plan the training routine for the team, and his plan has made a great difference. It took a while for some of the team to adjust to the routine, but it has produced great results.”

Unfortunately for Madsen and the Sea Warriors, he did not qualify for Nationals after finishing sixth at the Western Regionals, officially ending his college career and the season for HPU's men's cross country team.

Initially everybody, including both Honolulu newspapers, assumed Madsen had qualified for Nationals because six Western Region qualifiers were taken last year. But the number of qualifiers was dropped to five this year. Madsen finished the 10 k race in 32:45, six seconds from fifth place.

Junior Abdeslam Naji finished second amongst HPU runners, 37th overall, in 34:33. Sophomeors Chris Larson and Robert Tyler finished third and fourth amongst Sea Warrior runners, 45th and 66th overall in times of 34:50 and 35:44, respectively. The only other senior on HPU's team, Shadrack Nabea, finished 71st overall in 35:57. Junior Samual Macharia finished 84th in 37:05 and freshman Harald Buerkle finished in 38:05, 93rd amongst the 118 top Western Region runners.

HPU was 10th overall with 213 pts., 70 behind winner Chico State.

Madsen, who logs up to 110 miles of roadwork a week, ask his teammates to do a mere 70 miles or so. Most of the team tries to log the mileage. They see the trainer's performance, five individual titles this year and 11 in his collegiate career, and look for similar results.

“You have to love running to do what he does to his body,” said Schwinn. “He is one of the truest competitors that I have met. What I like about him is that Christian is so disciplined. He trains his body physically usually he runs twice a day but he also has a great understanding of sports physiology, how to combine fitness, mental toughness, and nutrition into the whole package.”

Madsen hoped this package would pay off at this year’s regional meet. He had an outstanding season last year, but fell ill in the end and finished 31st in the championships. Madsen stayed healthy in the 2002 season and wanted to compete with the best.

“When you reach the level of regionals and nationals, everyone is pretty much equal,” said Madsen. “It all comes down to all those hours of training. Whoever has the strongest legs in the end, the strongest mind, the ones who aren’t afraid of the pain—they will be there.”

Although Madsen had individual goals in mind, he takes his role as captain seriously. He seems to get as much satisfaction from a Sea Warrior victory as his own. Madsen is definitely NCAA II All-American status, but he takes great pride and pleasure in being a part of a bigger team. He sees his teammates succeed, and it gives him added satisfaction.

Madsen still had team captain duties as teammates Sayuri Kusutani and Nina Christensen qualified for the women's race at Nationals in Ohio (Nov. 23).

“When I run a meet, I know what I want to do, I am focused on winning,”said Madsen. “But as a team captain, I also watch what my teammates are doing and try to help. The better they do, the better I feel about the race.”


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