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Tufts' Frontrunner

Tufts' FrontrunnerTufts junior Nate Brigham is running his way to the top of the men’s cross country team, notching impressive individual victories while remaining the ultimate team player. Medford, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [12.02.03] Tufts junior Nate Brigham has made a habit out of running in the front of the pack. Unlike most cross country runners, Brigham enjoys setting the pace and remaining a frontrunner for the duration of a race. In his third season as a member of the men's cross country team, it is clear that his technique has paid off. With three consecutive selections to the All-NESCAC second team and an All-American finish at the NCAA Nationals in 2002, Brigham has played an integral role in his team's success.

"He has that little aura about him that says ‘Coach, not only am I going to run fast, but I'm going to run faster than a lot of other people," Tufts coach Connie Putnam told The Concord Monitor. "When you're looking for a guy to lead a program, that's the kind of guy you're looking for."

Brigham has proven his leadership abilities throughout his career, setting four school distance records at Merrimack Valley High School in New Hampshire before joining the Tufts squad in 2001. Much of his success can be attributed to his persistent work ethic and motivation.

"I'm usually ending my runs in the dark, exhausted after a long day," Brigham told the Monitor. "But I've always had one thing on my mind: the month of November."

In November, Brigham competes in the most important meets of the cross country season. It is also in November that the Tufts junior has had some of his most impressive victories - including his 11th place finish at the NCAA National meet last year that garnered him All-American status and perhaps his greatest cross country accomplishment yet.

"When I came in, individually I wanted to be All-American," Brigham told the newspaper. "I didn't know if it would be possible until I ran that well last fall and actually did it. Now, I guess, all I can think about is winning. Winning the NCAAs individually."

Although his 94th place finish at this year's Nationals fell short of his individual expectations, Brigham's running helped to lead his team to an 11th place finish overall, the culmination of a highly successful season that brought Tufts it's first ever New England Championship title.

"On the strength of Brigham's second-place showing, the Jumbos finished with 74 points to capture their first New England title in school history," reported the Monitor.

While Brigham expresses disappointment in falling short of first place, he remains the ultimate team player.

"I get upset about what happened to me personally," Brigham told the newspaper, "but when I think about it we came home with what we set out for."

It is this selflessness that makes Coach Putnam proud to have Brigham on the squad.

"That's the kind of guy I want to work with," Putnam told the newspaper.

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