Sept. 19, 2011
by Carrie Adams
ASU Media Relations
Starting the season with a huge individual victory and leading his squad to the team title at the George Kyte Invitational three weekends ago in Flagstaff, redshirt junior Darius Terry looks to be setting the pace for the Arizona State University men's cross country team this season.
Terry, a fairly new member to the Sun Devil cross country team, transferred to Arizona State after running his first two collegiate years at Northern Arizona University. Since the transfer, Terry has been progressively making his mark in ASU's history books.
Last year, Terry became the first-ever Sun Devil to be an All-American in the 1,500-meter run after he finished 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning second team honors. He also placed 23rd overall at the Pac-10 Cross-Country Championships last year.
His success has only grown since the end of last season. The George Kyte Invitational was the first, but certainly not the last, example of what is to come from this talented young man.
"He is leader out there," comments team captain Daniel Lovell. "He doesn't complain about anything. He just comes straight to practice and gets straight to work."
Lovell relies on Terry's leadership - not by voice but by action - to act as a role model for both the freshmen and newcomers this year as well as the entire team. This work ethic is the means behind Terry's accomplishments so far and the drive that, according to Lovell, "[will] help our group get to nationals, [which is] the ultimate goal for the year."
It hasn't always been an easy road for the young student-athlete, as he had to overcome an obstacle that many young people struggle with today: a lack of confidence. Transferring form NAU, Terry's confidence level became his biggest challenge.
"I was training really well, working out well [at NAU], but I wasn't confident going into the races," Terry said.
However, with help from ASU head men's cross country coach Louie Quintana, Terry looks to have been able to make the leap and get over that bump in his career.
Quintana, who used to oversee the entire cross country program as head coach for the women as well, has transitioned to a role as solely being the men's coach - a move that allows him to dedicate more time to his student-athletes and a move that looks to have already paid it's dividends if the team's early-season performances are any indication.
"Coach Louie got me in races, performing well and just built my confidence as the season went on," Terry said of his coach.
Even with overcoming his own confidence problems, the transition has been challenging for Terry. Last year was technically Terry's first year competing in races against Division IA opponents. Still, Terry took the challenge in stride, as demonstrated by becoming the first Sun Devil All-American at 1,500 meters in school history.
"He has made huge, huge improvements this year," Quintana noted, "[He] has been able to do more mileage this year and just has more confidence."
This newfound confidence is the formula that is propelling Terry and the team towards the NCAA championship and Quintana doesn't hesitate to state his value to the team's success.
"As he goes, so goes the team," Quintana remarks.
Terry's focus right now is just doing what he is trained to do - and that's to go out and run and run to the best of his potential.
"I just have to go into the races and be confident," Terry said. His focus and mindset, he hopes, will carry the team to a top-three ranking in this weekend's Roy Griak Invite in Minneapolis and ultimately another All-America accolade.
To become an All-American - a top-forty finish at the NCAA Championships in November - "is really hard to do," according Quintana, but something that he knows Terry can accomplish.
"Based on workouts he has done over the past four weeks, I anticipate him making a major jump on the national scene," Quintana said.
As the season speeds on, this talented junior continues to inspire his teammates and coaches with his extraordinary work ethic and vast determination. Darius Terry is setting the pace for victory with the Sun Devils striding right behind him.