On The Rise

Photo courtesy UNC Athletic Communications

Upon hearing that the UNC men’s cross country team was led by a redshirt freshman in their first two meets of the season, the average viewer may be surprised. But Mitch Resor is no average first-year.

At Weddington High School near Charlotte, Resor was a six-time state champion on the track and a high finisher every year in cross country. So, to see that he was 5th and 2nd in the first two meets respectively should come as no surprise. Resor certainly has the credentials to be a good college runner.

The decision to redshirt was an easy one for Resor, as he came down with pneumonia just before coming to school last year. “I used [the redshirt year] as a learning curve to figure things out. It was definitely a hard transition, but I think I was a lot more fresh for this year.”

One of the biggest adjustments Resor had to make did start racing this season was learning to run the eight-kilometer distance as opposed to just five in high school. He does say the newness of the experience makes it fun and exciting. To get to this point, Resor has seen a major jump in his training. After running 40-50 miles per week in high school ,he bumped it up to 70 or so miles a week last year. Now he runs 90-95 miles a week, running seven days a week. Resor says that all of the runs are faster and there aren’t any days of just jogging around; there is more purpose to every run which is a major change from high school and a contributing factor to his growing success.

Coming into the races so far this season, Resor says that the plan was to go out with the leaders and run based on feel. He notes the difficulty of assigning a goal pace to races in cross country due to the differences in every course. He also spoke at length about the aspect of the team echoed by so many on and close to the team, the unique ability of this year’s team to run in a pack. Resor particularly enjoyed the first meet (Elon Opener) in which the Heels’ top five were separated by only 10 seconds. He says that this pack has helped not only in the team scoring in races but has helped team chemistry, and training, and individual performances as well.

Mitch Resor talks with the calm confidence of someone who knows that they are on the right track. His ultimate goal is an All-ACC finish to the season and for the team to finish strong with a top three performance at the conference meet. With two big meets coming up at Louisville and Penn State, if he can keep up the pace he set at the beginning of the season, Resor —and the team— could very well achieve those goals.