Leading the Pack
Oct. 20, 2004
By Scott MacDonald
Kyle Rabbitt is one of the most decorated cross country athletes in Georgia Tech history. The senior is a two-time All-South Region honoree and became just the third Tech men's athlete to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 2003. This season, Rabbitt hopes to apply what he learned at last year's nationals.
"I learned a lot last year," said Rabbitt. "I learned how to deal with colder climates, because it was the most ridiculous climate I've ever been in. I also learned how national races go, because I was in last place for the first 400 meters. Everybody sprints out and whoever gets in front, stays in front. But that's advice I got after the race, unfortunately, from a friend of mine."
Like a cross country course, Rabbitt has had to endure a lot of ups and downs throughout his stint at Georgia Tech. The Tyrone, Ga., native had an impressive 2003 season in track with All-Atlantic Coast Conference performances during the indoor and outdoor seasons, to go along with his all-region performance in cross country. After a solid cross country campaign and a strong 2004 indoor track season, Rabbitt was limited during the outdoor season due to a knee injury.
"It was tough," said Rabbitt. "I really didn't start running until July."
Then, in the beginning of august, adversity struck the distance runner again. MONONUCLEOSIS.
"I was just starting to pick the mileage up and beginning to feel really good when I got the sickness last month. It kept me out three weeks and it was unfortunate, because I was really starting to build my confidence, and now I only have six weeks for ACC's and eight more for the NCAA South Region Championships."
Now, Rabbitt is just trying to get back to the form he attained last season. His fourth-place finish at last year's NCAA South Region Championships was the second highest finish by a Yellow Jacket and went on to compete at NCAAs. A three-time all-conference honoree in track, Rabbitt has yet to earn All-ACC honors at the ACC Cross Country Championships.
"Coach [Alan Drosky] and I have talked about this and it's kind of weird," said Rabbitt. "I've been All-ACC for indoor and outdoor track, but not cross. I finished 11th last year, one spot away, but I should have a better chance this year because the top 14 will earn all-conference honors."
Rabbitt finished 19th this past Monday at the Chile Pepper Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. The third-ranked Razorbacks won the event, while Tech placed 13th and 14th, on the women's and men's side, respectively.
"I have a long way to go before I can compete," said Rabbitt. "I'm just working on getting my training back up to the proper mileage and hopefully I can get back to where I need to be to make another run at qualifying for my second NCAA Championships. As far as team goals, we would like to move up at ACC's and continue to get better."