Peterson runs final season

Senior Nate Peterson runs at a meet hosted by UND last season. File photo.

The UND men’s cross country team is off to a fast start — literally.

Through two meets this fall, it has placed seven runners in the top half of all competitors.

Leading the team is senior Nate Peterson. In the first meet of the season in Fargo, Peterson’s time of 19 minutes, 27.45 seconds defeated Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne and took home eighth place in a field of 55 runners.

In his first three years, Peterson was named a two-time member of the Big Sky Conference Spring All-Academic team, and owns the third fastest time in school history, running one mile in 4:11:97.

Junior year was a year to remember for Peterson as he finished as the best UND runner in two meets and won the 3K Minnesota Northwest Open.

He finished as the top runner at the Big Sky Conference Cross Country Championship, where he placed 28th with a time of 26 minutes, four seconds. For him, his proudest moment came at the end of season, when he was nominated for the Student Athlete award and was named Most Valuable Cross Country Runner.

“I was proud of being named MVP — I thought it was nice,” Peterson said, “I wished I would have performed better at the end of the year.”

At the NCAA Regional Meet in Iowa, Peterson ran a time of 33:24:3 and finished 155th. UND finished 24th overall at the meet.

But his efforts have allowed him to improve his running skills.

Peterson is the most veteran runner on a squad that has eight underclassmen running this fall. With such experience, UND coach Dick Clay named him captain.

“It’s been a cool experience, having more responsibility and being in charge of running workouts and exercises for our young team,” Peterson said.

Peterson is looking forward to his senior year and the motivation he hopes to drive toward improvement.

“With our young team, we can improve on the season we had last year and move forward going into the NCAA regional tournament at the end of this year,” he said.

The senior calls Horace, Minn., home, but the short drive from Grand Forks won’t compare to the journey he’ll take in the spring.

“I’m not looking forward to that bus ride home from our regional meet at the end of the season and realizing that I’ll be done from competitive cross country running,” Peterson said.

His collegiate running career will be over. Peterson then hopes to move on to another one of his passions.

“After I graduate, my goal is to teach math at the high school level, hopefully somewhere in North Dakota and I can help coach cross country there,” Peterson said.

Kyle Beauchamp is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]