From Demons to Blue Devils, Salmen brothers keep on running
Four years ago, they ran to victories as members of the Glenwood Springs High School cross country team. Now, the Salmen brothers are doing it again, but as members of the Duke Blue Devils squad.On Nov. 19, Chas, a senior, and Marco, a junior, concluded their 2005 fall season by helping their team win the 97th annual Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association of America (IC4A) Championships, for the first time in Blue Devil history. “We have a pretty young team, and I think we went beyond our expectations. We thought it was going to be sort of a building year,” Chas said. “That was a great end to our best season at Duke.”The IC4A, made up of over 100 teams from the East Coast, is one of the oldest conferences in the country. The championship race was held at the historic 5-mile cross country course at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City.”It is a hard race, but it gives you energy to run in a place with such history in it,” Marco said. “It was a very special race. There were a couple of really hard hills, so I personally didn’t have one of my best races, but it was fun to be there and do well as a team.”
Twenty-five Blue Devils are on Duke’s cross country roster, and the top 12 were selected to competed in the championship race. Only the top seven contribute to the team score.Although Marco didn’t finish in the top seven for Duke, Chas was the fourth Blue Devil to cross the finish line, clocking in at 25:50. Duke took the championship by totaling 112 points, 14 ahead of second-place Cornell.”It was the first time both Marco and I raced together at the end of the season,” Chas said.Racing together has been an enjoyable experience for the brothers. “I love it. I have always enjoyed that,” Marco said. “He has been my best training partner since I was in seventh grade and supported me. He’s ahead of me now though, I can’t even see him in the races.” Chas, a co-captain on the team, admits there are many differences from running in high school to racing for a Division I team. He and Marco used to run 35 miles per week at GSHS, now they run 70-80 on paths weaving through the Duke Forest. He has also taken on a different role as a team leader and as the fifth man.
“It is different from being captain at GSHS. There, I was at the front of the pack. In college, I don’t run in front, I am in the middle of the pack. On a good day, I am at the front of the middle of the pack,” Chas said. “I have been the fifth man all year and it has been different to run in the middle. I have felt that my role is more motivational, and to show that everyone is an import asset to the team.”
The Salmen brothers compete for one of the most prestigious collegiate athletic programs in the country. At the same time, they sit in classrooms and take exams for the renowned university.”It is a great school to be a student athlete at,” Chas said. “The whole school is into basketball and I think that carries over to the entire athletic program.Chas, who is an english major, a pre-med student and is minoring in Arabic on the side, enjoys the training regimine on the track and in the classroom.”It structures my schedule for the day. It is a nice diversion and a contrast I appreciate,” Chas said. “I get to challenge by body and then I get to challenge my mind.”Chas will graduate in December of 2006 after redshirting last fall and studying abroad at American University in Cairo, Egypt. It was a intense, but amazing semester, according to Chas, where he sharpened his Arabic and still managed to train for cross country.”I lived on an island in the Nile and training was very interesting. I think in my five months there, I saw one other runner,” Chas said. “There are 25 million people there and it is very crowded and polluted. The whole time I was running I felt like I was smoking a giant cigar.”Marco, on the other hand, is a psychology major, but is also very happy to live the life of a student athlete.”I think it has been a great fit for me. When I am not happy with classes, I can turn to running. When I am not happy with running, I can turn to classes,” Marco said. “It is great to be on the team and travel different places. It has for sure been the highlight of my college experience so far.”The brothers will be spending some time in Glenwood for the holidays before returning to North Carolina and kicking off the spring season.”We are going to have a lot of the same guys and hopefully we can improve,” Marco said.
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