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Sam Brunnette Places 25th in National Competiton

By Justin Siewierski; Editor-in-Chief
On December 4, 2017

Sam Brunnette Places 25th in National Competiton 

Justin Siewierski

Editor-in-Chief

js2010@plymouth.edu 

Junior Sam Brunnette became the first runner in Plymouth State history to receive the honor of All-American, placing 25th in the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship in Illinois November 18th. The Newport, Vermont native and environmental science major is the definition of student-athlete, running both indoor and outdoor track for the Panthers alongside cross country during the fall season.

The All-American has exceeded expectations since the day he stepped foot onto the campus of Plymouth State University. After winning the LEC Rookie of the Year, the last two years have included milestones that PSU cross-country has never seen before. Since winning the Little East Conference cross-country championship last year, Brunnette is the most recent runner in conference history to win back-to-back conference hardware. As the seventh runner in LEC history to win repeat titles, Brunnette also had four individual championships this season to add to his already prestigious career.

As it’s hard enough to catch up to Brunnette on the track, The Clock was able to talk with Brunnette with all things running, and why he chose Plymouth State. 

When did you first take interest in cross-country?

I first took interest in cross-country when I did a local summer track program between 8th and 9th grade. A couple of my friends were there and it was a good time. That's where I learned about the XC team at high school and it immediately took my interest. My love for the sport started then and has been growing up to what it is today.

Why did you choose Plymouth State?

Plymouth State was a great combination of size and location. Outside of the town of Plymouth there isn’t much else and that’s great. An island of civilization, almost in the middle of nowhere. Academically I was undecided and the undeclared program at Plymouth helped a lot. Now I’ve got a major and two minors.

What has been your biggest motivation in the last three years?

The want to get better and my competitive drive to be the best I can be. Getting to nationals has been my goal since getting here and now that I am going it’s just gets me more motivated than ever.

Out of all the sports you could have played growing up, why did distance running stick out to you?

Growing up I didn’t do much many sports, one year of T-ball, soccer in the third grade, baseball in the 6th grade, and nothing after that until I did that summer track program the summer before high school. It stuck out to me because the team I had in High school was such a great group of people that practice became the best part of my day. I had some natural ability and I could see myself getting good at running so there was no reason to stop once I started.

What's been your best memory so far at PSU?

One of my best memories was sophomore year when the Men’s Hockey team hosted the MASCAC championship game. I had just got back from a track meet with a time that qualified me for indoor nationals, so I was already extremely happy and then I got to sit in the packed hockey arena and watch a good game. One of my best days in Plymouth.

What is your pre-meet ritual?

The night before a race I will usually eat pasta of some form or another. Breakfast is either oatmeal or toast with crunchy peanut butter and banana on top. I will listen to music on the way to a regular meet. Before big important races I have a specific playlist of songs I only listen then. The rest of the time I’m just staying calm and loose while waiting and around and through the warmup up until I get on the starting line.

If you could pick between indoor track or cross country, which would you choose?

I wouldn’t be able to choose. I like both equally for what they have in common and their differences.

What is it like to be in a sport where you're competing year-round (as both an XC and track athlete)?

That’s just a normal year-round feeling for me. I have been doing the year-round thing since freshman year of high school so I can’t imagine life any other way right now. After each season, I take about a week to two weeks off from running, during that time I don’t know what to do with myself some days.

Second straight year as runner of the year. How have you been able to stay atop the LEC?

Consistency in training and mind-set. My motivation has only gotten stronger since getting here and that is the real key to staying on top. If I didn’t want to succeed, my training wouldn’t be consistent and thus my place atop the LEC.

If a recruit asked you why they should choose Plymouth, what would you tell them?

The running around here is amazing. Outside the town there are many hilly dirt roads that are so enjoyable to run on with the team. 

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