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Gorgas qualifies for Indoor Nationals in 3,200


By Jason Wesseldyk

Sports Editor

Nagging injuries have prevented Saugatuck cross country/track standout Corey Gorgas from training at his normal level this winter.

“This winter I’ve been dealing with all sorts of little setbacks that have kept me from training at full strength,” Gorgas said. “I’ve had continuous back and hip problems that have kept me off of the icy roads and on the treadmill for most of my workouts. A shin problem came up and I had to run around a baseball field on soft grass for a few weeks to overcome it.”

None of that seemed to hamper Gorgas much at the Gazelle Sports Elite 3,200 race at Grand Valley State University on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Gorgas turned in a time of 9:19.87 to finish ninth and earn a spot at the New Balance Indoor Nationals starting Friday, March 9, at the Armory in New York.

There will be two 3,200 races at the event: Emerging Elite and Championship. Gorgas will compete in the Championship race, making him eligible for All-American honors.

“It’s a tremendous honor for me to be able to compete at the national level,” Gorgas said. “This is the first time I’ve ever made it to the indoor nationals, and getting to compete in a Championship event makes it that much better.”

Gorgas has previously competed at Outdoor Nationals twice.

In addition to his injuries, Gorgas was recuperating from a cold the week leading up to the Elite 3,200 and was limited to 15 miles of training for the week.

“Finishing in 9:19 off of 15 miles a week, no workouts, and battling sickness helped me realize that I’m still in really good shape despite what I’ve been doing,” Gorgas said. “This has given me a lot of confidence going into the race knowing that even with minimal training I can still run a decently fast time.”

Saugatuck cross country/track coach Rick Bauer never doubted Gorgas.

“Corey is a great leader and mentor to the rest of the kids in our program,” Bauer said. “He has elevated the bar to the point that many of them are shooting for national qualifying marks. He is now competing in his third National Championship. He expects to make it to nationals, where others hope to or dream of making it.”

Gorgas and Bauer have been formulating a game plan for the race.

“For the (3,200), there are generally two heats: a fast heat and a slow heat. Depending on which one I get put in, I will have different race strategies.

“If I get placed in the slow heat, I intend to race to win or place high in my heat with a strategic move at the 3.5k mark. Hopefully I can dip under the 15-minute barrier and grab an All-American spot as well.

“I end up in the fast heat, I’m just going to try to get right behind the lead pack, hold on for dear life and kick with whatever is left. Again, the All-American spot is my biggest goal.”