Milesplit XC Journals: Ammar Moussa: Journal #4- Running with the Buffaloes




Milesplit Cross Country Journals  

In his final cross country journal, Ammar Moussa writes about his trip to Nike Nationals with his team and his decision to run for Colorado University in the fall.  



World XC Daily Blog

Journal Entry #1

Journal Entry #2

Journal Entry #3



Ammar Moussa

(Sr., Arcadia High School, CA)


Journal Entry #4 (December 30, 2010)


Well, needless to say the mood at state was a very celebratory one. But comparing last year's celebration after getting third and this years was completely different. This year, I could see the hunger the guys felt. It's not like we weren't happy that we won. We were. But we weren't done. Last year's embarrassing 20th place nationals was still fresh on our minds. When we went to Portland last year, it was just a vacation, the cherry on top of our season. This year, nationals WAS our season. So we left Fresno, CA with Portland on your minds. 


Our team is a very emotional one. It's taken a while, but we've collectively learned how to turn our emotions from letting it consume us, to letting if fuel us. We did little things to fuel ourselves, and get us incredibly focused on the race at hand. Before I mention the little things we did, I need to make clear that we mean no disrespect to anyone. Through this process we made some of the best friends we could make. Take the American Fork guys for example. The entire weekend in Portland we had a really cool camaraderie going that was really cool to have, especially with an another really good team, and after the race, when they had a below-par race, we were there for them, and we know that they were just as happy for us, which is really cool to have. Another team we have a really good bond with is Dana Hills, from down here in California. We had been down there to hang out with them, and they're a really good group of guys. So anything we did was by no means to disrespect anyone. It's just our way of focusing, and getting that drive going. So an example of what we did this season is being "hungry" for a good meal…a (Trabuco Hills) Mustang burger, and a (Dana Hills) Dolphin milkshake. We would always tell that to each other during workouts, and before races, and after them too. It was how we got ourselves focused. The entire week before nationals our team made a collective pact to not use forks for any meals because of American FORK. Believe me, eating spaghetti with a spoon is very, very hard. But these are the things we would do to get focused, and to keep ourselves driven, but in an easy going manner. Shoot, it was a lot of fun doing these things, because we always joked around, and it kept us light-hearted and not too uptight. The great thing about this team was that we were incredibly focused on our goals, but not to the point where we were anal about it, and having that great balance helped so much. So its easy to see our mindset going into nationals…a light-hearted one, and we were ready to go.





Arcadia High School XC Team - Nike Nationals - Start   (photo by Jeff McCoy)


Individually I got 4th. That's all that really happened for me individually. Yes, it would have been great to win…but to tell the truth, over the course of the season I started caring less and less. Okay that's a lie. I cared a lot. I wanted that individual national title pretty bad. And looking back I probably have some regrets. But what happened happened. And I'm still INCREDIBLY happy with the result. And I can't complain about that :)


At Nike Nationals they have this cool thing where they announce team splits during the race. I only heard 2 splits. The 2k split that had us in first place, and when we came by the grandstands again I checked the jumbo-tron and saw that we were still in first. That gave me so much strength, because my team was killing it behind me. But when we finished, someone told us that Manlius had closed hard on us that last kilometer. Needless to say I was just a bit worried. One of my teammates, who felt that he let us down was crying, and we all were a bit worried. So we circled up as a team, and I let my teammates know that I loved them all, that regardless of the result we hold our heads up high. Right then we find out that we're top 3 and we head over to the paddock. They call up the 3rd place team, and after a sigh of relief, we circle up, say a quick prayer, and hold each other really close and raw on the strength (and was COLD) of each other. And the second place team is….MANLIUS. All of the Arcadia contingent up in Portland went nuts. I don't know what the rest of the guys did, because I immediately started jumping up and down, and then collapsed as my emotions hit me and I started crying my eyes out. No, it is NOT childish to cry. IT WAS THE GREATEST FEELING IN THE WORLD. I can't even begin to describe it. I cried. I cried. I just couldn't stop. Everything hit me, the endless summer miles, the arguments, the sacrifices, the time, the energy…it all hit me. It had paid off. So I will admit to crying. Because I did, and it was emotional. I'm pretty sure all the guys cried. It was just crazy. When they handed us that trophy and we lifted it and all the guys came up, B team guys, and the coaches…it symbolized that season. EVERYONE was a part of that championship. Not just the top 7 guys and Coach…but everyone, from the B team, to the JV guys, to the frosh-soph guys to every single coach, to the parents, and to everyone who had a hand in the season.


(Photo above:  Ammar finishing 4th at Nike Nationals.  Photo by Ryan Kelly



So let me take this paragraph to thank everyone. Coach O'Brien for putting up with me, helping me mature, and helping me and my teammates win this national title. Not just by giving us training methods, but by helping us grow up as men. Every single one of our coaches deserves massive props for coming out, for close to no money, if even that. They came out not for the money, but for the joy of watching all of us get faster, and push ourselves to limits that not even we imagined for ourselves, yet they had faith in us at all times. Massive thanks to my parents first of all, for being there for me at all times, through the lows and highs, and never pushing me to a point where I don't love this sport, and always understanding what it means to be a parent of a runner, and never trying to coach me…which is such a help. Then to all the parents of the team, who did everything from spending 10 days with us and cooking for and just putting up with us in Mammoth, to donating time and money to the team, to just coming to the meets and getting loud for us. Thank you to every single one of the runners on the Arcadia team for coming out to the meets, and inspiring us to run hard for you guys every day. And thank you to my teammates for helping me mature, and realizing that without my team, I wouldn't be close to the athlete or individual I am today. Massive shootout to another great team from the state of California, the Saugus girls. Coach Paragas and his girls cheered for their fellow Californians like mad. So thank you Saugus Girls! And without a doubt I thank God every single day for this blessed life. This has been a dream season and couldn't have been possible without Him. 


On top of that long narrative I guess I can let you guys know about my college decision. I recently verballed to the University of Colorado in Boulder, and I will be running as a Buffalo next year. I want to thank all the schools that I talked to and visited. They were all really good schools, and this probably the hardest thing I ever had to choose. I guess that's life. I ended up visiting 4 schools, Oregon, Colorado, University of North Carolina, and Berkley. It really came down to Oregon and Colorado, and I loved both schools a lot. Like I can't even begin to describe it. They were great trips, great teams, and great coaching staffs. But I chose Colorado based on a couple factors. First, I loved Coach Wetmore. I felt that I really connected with him, and I liked his demeanor, which was a huge plus. I liked Boulder as a city, and I really liked the academics. The entire team was really likable, and reminded me of my own team which I really liked, so I just felt so comfortable with the school. It's a great program, and I feel that I definitely made the right choice with this school. 


So its time to wind this down. I want to thank everyone for actually taking the time to read this. If you read this, I feel honored. The amount of support I got this season from people was incredible. And thank you to every single one of you. Thank YOU for inspiring me and motivating me to run to the best of my potential, and thank you for supporting me and my team this year. If any of you every have questions feel free to ask me. Thanks again to everyone!!! Once again I apologize for the delayed response, and I apologize if I offended anyone because it was not my intention. Thank you MIlesplit for giving me the chance to write a journal for you!! And thanks again!!! Next step: USA Cross Championships in San Diego Feb 5th!! See you there! Oh yea! Happy New Years!!