Hi-Line Athlete Profile: Field Soosloff, MSU-N Cross Country
MSU-Northern runner hopes Rocky Mountain High training will pay off in Havre
Last updated 11/5/2020 at 9:43am
Montana is a state of high altitude terrain, no doubt about it. But, as it relates to cross country, the sport is raced around the state on much more flat areas, such as golf courses and parks.
And to many runners on the Montana State University-Northern cross country team, that's exactly how they grew up racing. That, however, is not how Northern standout Field Soosloff trained prior to his arrival at Northern, or how he prepared for this season.
No, when it comes to altitude, Soosloff likes to grind it out up high.
"I ran a bunch of miles on Picture Rock trail in my home town of Lyons, Colorado," Soosloff said of his summer training, which coincided with the coronavirus pandemic. "This run starts at 5,371 feet above sea level, and climbs to 6,400 feet on twisty and rocky single track trails. For most of my long runs, I ran on the rolling dirt roads outside Boulder. These were always a treat because I got to see all the professional runners on their runs. Every month in the summer, my friends and I ran a 16-mile long run on the legendary Magnolia road, a grueling route 8679 feet above sea level with relentless hills."
Indeed, the Boulder area is home to some of the top high-latitude training and distance running in the world, and Soosloff, being from the area, took advantage. He did so to ready himself for the 2020 Frontier Conference season, his second as a Light.
And now, that season has about reached the finish line.
The 2020 Frontier Conference Championships will be held Friday afternoon at Prairie Farms Golf Course, a course that Soosloff and the Northern runners know well. All the Lights and Skylights are hoping to take advantage of the home course, and Soosloff is looking to make all that running in the mountains last summer pay big dividends Friday, on what is a relatively fast course.
The top men's team, and top individual advance to the NAIA national championships next spring, while at-large berths are also on the line based on time. And now in his third year at Northern, Soosloff is ready to make that jump up the ranks in his distance running career.
"My personal goal is to do the best I can to score the lowest points for the team," Soosloff said. "For me that means to win. It won't be easy, though, as there are many great runners in the Frontier Conference. There are at least eight guys who have been really close all year. There are no clear favorites and on Friday it can be anyone's race. The team wants to compete well at conference championships. The guys have been training great all season and want to place better than Northern ever has. Our three seniors Beau (Hyatt), Kai (Krumweide) and Dan (Kirwa) all want to run fast, as this is their last Conference meet. I am really excited to have conferences in Havre this year. It is great having the course so close that we can practice and train there. It's also wonderful to have the support of the town and college."
The 2020 Frontier Championships begin Friday at noon with the men's race, followed by the women at 12:45 p.m. at Prairie Farms. Before the final races of the fall, the Havre Daily News caught up with Soosloff for five questions.
HDN: You are from Colorado. What made you choose MSU-Northern?
Soosloff: "I chose MSU-Northern because it was one of the only schools that offered an automotive bachelor's degree and a cross country team."
HDN: What have you enjoyed most about your time at Northern thus far?
Soosloff: "I have enjoyed many things, but the most is the support I get from my coach, teammates, and the faculty and students of MSU-Northern. It's awesome attending a small school where everyone knows each other. I always hear words of encouragement and congratulations on my performances."
HDN: What is a time you shoot for; what's your goal, as far as a top time, to shoot for would be?
Soosloff: "A good time to shoot for on this course is a sub-27 minute 8k. As far as my time goals, I would be ecstatic to run faster than my all-time best of 25:57."
HDN: What are some of the challenges the course at Prairie Farms Golf Course will present in this meet?
Soosloff: "Prairie Farms is a great course. Even though it's flat and fast, there are some challenges. In some places the course is narrow and there are some sharp corners, so you have to run an ideal racing line. Another thing to consider is the possibility of wind. The course is exposed in a couple of spots and it can get pretty gusty."
HDN: What got you into running and when did you start doing it competitively?
Soosloff: "I started running my freshman year of high school. I was really into fitness, and my high school coach convinced me cross country would get me into great shape. I was awful at running that first year, barely breaking 23 minutes for the 5k. But after consistent training that winter, I developed a love for the sport and got a whole lot faster. That track season is when I started being competitive and racing seriously."