WIAA champion Pederson hoping to keep up success

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WIAA champion Pederson hoping to keep up success

Daniel Pederson is also a competitive skier.

Daniel Pederson is also a competitive skier.

Photo by Maggie Bean

Daniel Pederson is also a competitive skier.

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Daniel Pederson is also a competitive skier.

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As Marquette’s season gets underway this weekend, Daniel Pederson is preparing for his first race after a summer filled with success.

In June, Pederson won the WIAA state title in the two-mile race and was the runner-up in the one-mile race. On top of that, Pederson is an elite cross-country skier and has won numerous events in the sport. The two-time Section 1 Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association Runner of the Year has the pedigree to impress.

For Pederson, it is not about how he finished in June. It is about how he starts in September.

“I just want to get a good time that I can shoot for it again, and hopefully break through it again,” Pederson said. “I want to get used to the 8K because I’ve never really ran it before, so it will be interesting. I’ll definitely find out a lot about myself from running the 8K at the collegiate level.”

Pederson had to adjust to the collegiate running schedule, which he says is a lot more demanding than his schedule in high school. Coach Mike Nelson said the team typically runs 6-10 miles per day not including warm-ups and cool-downs, which can be another four to five miles.

Nelson eased the four freshmen into their regimen, slowly but surely having them pick up the pace and practice expectations. Nelson understands it is a challenge, but also realizes that it can benefit certain runners.

“It is challenging, for sure,” Nelson said. “High school is a 5K race, while at college it is 8K, so it is quite a step up from the high school level.”

“It really depends on the individual. Some guys really take to that longer distance, and the further they go, it’s like the stronger they become as a runner. Mentally too, they have to become more comfortable with being on the racecourse for a longer period of time.”

Pederson has already gotten a good sense of the camaraderie that comes with running for an elite Division I program. A few weeks ago, the Marquette squad went to Devils Lake State Park, Wisconsin to camp, bond as a team and run the trails.

“It was great getting to know the guys on the camping trip,” Pederson said. “It’s really helpful because I know these guys at the college level before I even started college and stepped onto campus. At freshman orientation, I already knew a good amount of people because of the camping trip. I made friends and quickly developed a support group.”

Although he has a state championship to his name, Pederson knows that he has to start back at the bottom of the totem pole, where he will have to race his way back to the top.

“It would be easy to burn yourself out because you are trying to run 60-70 miles per week like the upperclassmen are doing,” said Pederson. “However, it helps you realize how hungry we are to try and be like them and run with the best. Because later on this season, next spring, and even next season, that’s when we’d hit the workouts hard and perform really well.”

Pederson says his teammates are ready for the season to start, and are eager to show what they’re made off. When the gun goes off this Saturday at the Midwest Open in Kenosha, he knows at the end of the day things aren’t that different. All he has to do is run.

“Coach Nelson told me to run my race, and it definitely fostered a self-analysis of what my goal is for Saturday,” Pederson said. “We’ve been training hard, and I just want to start this season off on the right foot.”

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