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Home for the Holidays: Ty McCormack
North Hall graduate Ty McCormack had his career as a Trojan end on a bitter note, having not won the Class AAA cross country championship as a senior. However, he did win his first college race as a member of Clemson's cross country team. - photo by For The Times

It’s safe to say Ty McCormack ended his cross country career at North Hall High on a bitter note. The same can’t be said about how he started his career at Clemson University.

After failing to win the Class AAA championship as a senior, McCormack won his first college race, finished second in his second, and had what he called his “biggest win” at the third race of the year, the Charlotte Invitational in North Carolina.

“The adjustment wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be,” McCormack said. “College races are five miles, and although high school races are only three, I was ready for that.”

He could say that again.

McCormack finished his freshman season by finishing 15th in the ACC championships and Region championships that qualified him for first team All-ACC and first-team All-Region. Unfortunately for McCormack, his individual finishes didn’t help the Tigers reach Nationals.

“To be honest, we were just too inexperienced and not ready for a lot of races,” McCormack said. “It takes time to adjust, but in the future, we have a great group of kids and a great coach and I think we’ll have more success.”

Adjusting to running in college might have been easy, but the change of lifestyle was difficult for McCormack, despite the fact he made multiple trips back to Gainesville and even watched his former team race three times this year. McCormack even tried to convince Class AAA champion and former teammate Cody Barger to attend

Clemson, but the soon-to-be-graduated senior decided he wanted to attend West Point.

When Barger does enroll at West Point, he won’t have to worry about the same problem McCormack had.

“Just managing my time and not having a structured schedule was the hardest adjustment,” he said. “Academics was a concern early on.”

He also had to adjust to spending more time in the weight room, something he didn’t concern himself with while in high school.

“We had to lift two to three times a week,” he said. “Luckily we’re in there for only about an hour and then we get to leave.”

When not working out or running his 12 miles a day, he spent the majority of his time with his roommates, who are all cross country runners and hail from New York, South Carolina and Indiana.

Although the four were from different parts of the country, they were able to form a solid relationship due to their respective love of running.

“Having that common interest has helped us bond,” McCormack said. “They’re going to be my lifelong friends and I feel fortunate to have met them.”

Now that his first season is over, McCormack is back in Gainesville visiting his family, his girlfriend Laura Mancin, and preparing for next year with fellow former Trojan and current University of Georgia runner Nick Long.

“It’s nice to have friends in the area who will run with you,” McCormack said. “We keep pushing through even if it’s 20 degrees.”

That dedication to running has McCormack poised for another strong season as a sophomore, but that’s not on his mind right now. He plans to redshirt during the upcoming indoor season in order to prepare for the World Cross Country Championships in February.

“If all goes well, I’ll be running for the United States in March in Spain,” he said.

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