Cal Poly Athletics | Courtesy Photo

Cal Poly senior Swarnjit Boyal finished in 211th place at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships Nov. 18 at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in north-central Kentucky. Boyal, the only Mustang in the field, ran the 10k in 31 minutes and 48.67 seconds with an average mile pace of 5 minutes and 7.4 seconds.

Boyal competed in the championship race following his 10th place overall finish in the NCAA West Regionals the previous weekend after finishing 51st in the same race a year ago. He improved his time by almost a whole minute, dropping from 30 minutes and 44.4 seconds to 29 minutes and 47.2 seconds, which helped secure him a spot in the
national race.

The individual men’s national title was won by Syracuse senior Justyn Knight with a time of 29 minutes and 0.2 seconds, while Northern Arizona University and University of New Mexico took home the men’s and women’s team national championship.

“I wish I would have ran better. I just wasn’t feeling it that day I guess,” Boyal said. “I was happy for the experience as well as representing my school, and I’m excited for the new season that is ahead.”

Boyal’s large success and rise to prominence as the team’s number one male runner was no easy task, considering he didn’t even make the team his
freshman year.

“It was definitely a journey that started off with a lot of highs and lows. I started off freshman year and didn’t even make the team, but my sophomore year I was lucky enough to get a tryout at the end of September and within a week or two of joining the team, I was able to race my first race,” Boyal said. “I feel like every year I’ve been taking baby steps, but I put in the hard work. My goal ever since I joined the team was to one day be able to run at the national meet, and I was able to do that and accomplish a goal in which I went from not making the team to performing with the some of the highest calibrated athletes in the running community.”

Boyal is hoping that his success in cross country this season carries over to track as he plans to finish what he started, after making the team in 2015.

“I don’t know which event yet, but I’d love to make it to the NCAA Track and Field Championships and have the school record in 10K, break 13 minutes and 50 seconds in the 5K as well as win two first places at the Big West Conference Championships and just leave a legacy,” Boyal said. “I started from the club team and worked my way to trying to be the best, so my goal is to keep improving and getting better and be the best leader I can be for current teammates, future teammates and
even alumni.”

The Cal Poly track and field team’s first meet of the season will be in Seattle at the University of Washington Invitational Jan. 26 and 27.

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