The Peachtree Road Race falls in the middle of Trevor Sprague’s training for the college cross country season.
A second straight finish among the top 80 overall in the prestigious Fourth of July 5K race is a good sign for the Dunwoody resident, a fifth-year senior at the University of Georgia.
“It’s a good framework to see what my fitness level is,” Sprague said recently from Athens in a telephone interview. “Then I can decide to ramp up my miles or workouts. This year, I’ll run more miles. I’m excited about the cross country season.”
And he should be. Sprague spent last school year as a redshirt after transferring from the College of Charleston.
Sprague rewrote the cross country record books in three seasons at Charleston. He was the No. 1 cross country runner for the Cougars and left with the top three times in school history. Sprague set the cross country (8K) school record with a time of 25:42 during his junior season in 2009-10. He was named the most valuable runner at the school for both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.
Rising tuition at the College of Charleston and the ability to take advantage of the HOPE Scholarship, plus Georgia’s state-of-the-art athletic facilities, were some of the things that led Sprague to Athens, he said.
Sprague’s success in the Peachtree Road Race leaves him optimistic for a successful cross country season at Georgia. Sprague was 77th overall in the Peachtree this year with a time of 33:06 after placing in the top 60 a year ago with a time of 32:46.
With parents who were avid runners, Sprague fell into the sport naturally. Sprague’s father Steve ran cross country at Northwest Missouri State and later ran in Michigan for Adidas. His mother Teresan began running competitively after college, Sprague said.
“When I was a kid my mom always used to have me in those jogging strollers,” Trevor Sprague said. “They liked to put me in local races and I ran some Fun Runs in Dunwoody.”
Sprague played several sports in high school at St. Pius but his passion for running eventually put cross country and track at the top of his list. He played baseball, basketball and swam for the Golden Lions but was most successful as a runner.
“I naturally gravitated to cross country and track,” Sprague said.
He was named the most valuable runner at St. Pius and set the 5K record in cross country in 2006, which stood until last season.
“I think I’ll fit in well at Georgia,” Sprague said. “We should be among the top programs, and we have a good chance to make the NCAA Nationals.”
Fourteen of the 20 members of the Bulldogs’ men’s cross country team are from Georgia. Sprague ran against many of them in high school and has gotten to know them last year during his redshirt season.
“I was able to practice and train with team; everything except put the jersey on and go to the meets,” Sprague said.
Sprague said he hopes to help the Bulldogs earn a trip to the NCAA Nationals for the first time in five years this fall. The Bulldogs placed sixth in the Southeastern Conference championships and fifth in the NCAA South Regional championships last fall.
“We have a really strong group of Georgia runners. With so much homegrown talent, to go to nationals would be a really big deal. That says something about the level of high school talent in this state.”