While most area athletes are going into a break for the Thanksgiving week, Ro Paschal is just starting back up.
The 2016 Mancos graduate ran with the Adams State University cross-country team this fall as a redshirt freshman, and now – after less than a week off – he’s started training for the indoor track season.
As a redshirt, Paschal ran unattached in three different meets this fall, meaning he did not represent ASU in the races. But had he been able to, he would have placed 15th in ASU’s home season opener at the Joe Vigil Invitational in September after finishing the 8-kilometer race in 26 minutes and 51 seconds.
He then placed 40th (28:47.86) at Western State Colorado University’s Mountaineer/Cowboy Invite, before finishing his season at the Fort Hays Tiger Open in October with an 89th-place finish (26:18.70) out of 176 runners.
As a Mancos Blue Jay, Paschal finished seventh in the Class 2A Colorado State Cross-Country Championships as a junior, and then took sixth his senior year. But stepping up to the college level, the race distance jumped from 5K to 8K.
“A lot of it is just the mental strength that you need to be out there for anywhere from 24 to 28 minutes and being able to stay focused for that long during a race,” he said explaining the difference. “Rather than just 16 minutes in high school. It’s just the added distance in competition.”
Paschal also noted the difference in competition in regards to his standing on the team, saying, “I went from the No. 1 guy in high school to the No. 15 guy on our team now.”
However, he’s been putting in the time, and mileage, to grow stronger, saying that he runs between 70 and 75 miles per week.
He has afternoon practice every weekday, three morning practices per week, lifts weights twice a week, and goes on morning runs on Saturday and Sunday.
Now, Paschal, a physical geography and conservation major, has started the indoor track season, where he hopes to continue to improve.
In high school, he was a three-time top-10 state placer in both the 800m and the mile, and was also the anchor on the Blue Jays’ state championship 4x8 team.
But he said that he’s not sure where his coaches will run him at ASU, although he expects that he’ll be slotted somewhere between 800m and 3K.
However, his favorite event is the mile.
“I think right now, because I’m not as strong as the older guys, I like the mile the most because it’s a nice balance of speed and endurance,” he said.
Paschal and the ASU Grizzlies will begin the indoor track season with a home meet on Saturday, Dec. 3. And while he said that he doesn’t have any specific time goals for the season, he hopes to run fast and stay healthy.