NEW ORLEANS – For the first time in his career, Appalachian State University men’s cross country runner Andrew Vandenberg was named the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Runner of the Week by the league’s coaches on Wednesday. His recognition marks the fourth Runner of the Week honor awarded to a Mountaineer in the 2016 season, the most so far of any Sun Belt Conference institution.
“I am very proud of Andrew,” said head coach Michael Curcio. “He has had to deal with some health issues that kept him from racing at the Mountains to Sea Duals at home. I know he really wanted to be a part of that. He was very patient and worked his way up through a pretty talented field last Friday. With the weather being fairly hot for us, he really played it smart and got pretty close to his pr on a tough course.”
In his first 8k race of the season, Vandenberg placed 42nd at one of the most competitive cross country meets in the nation competing against a field of 113 runners and four of the top 15 teams in the country. The Boone native sprinted past the finish line in 25:26.90 and was the first Mountaineer to cross the tape at the Panorama Farms Invitational.
Vandenberg ran a great race moving up 27 spots to end at 42nd. At the 2k split, he held the 69th position but moved up to 48th at the 5k mark. The Watauga High School product continued to push himself throughout the challenging course to land inside the top 50.