Dec. 17, 2008
AUBURN - During his middle school years, Scott Novack was a dedicated soccer player who took up running merely because he was good at it. Several years later, Novack, now a junior at Auburn, runs to be the best that he possibly can be.
Hailing from Hoover, Ala., Novack took up cross country full time in high school to enjoy himself with friends, but his time at Auburn has brought a new reason to run.
"It was all about winning state championships in high school," Novack remarked, "but when I got to college it all changed. The training changed and now I'm running to run. I run to be better, to be faster and to be the best that I can."
For his first year as a member of the Auburn cross country team in 2006, Novack was redshirted in order to train more in high-mileage situations, but suffered a stress fracture, which kept him on the sidelines for both indoor and outdoor track competition.
Though injuries hindered his improvement, the Alabama native never lost his faith or his focus on what he would have to overcome.
"I am a very faithful person and I believe that God has called me to run," Novack stated. "Everyone is called to do something. After the training and the injury, I still knew that running is what I was supposed to do and that's what I focused on.
"I also knew that I just needed to enjoy it," he shared. "Some of the best advice that I ever got was that you're not going to train well and you won't do anything if you don't enjoy what you're doing."
With Novack, the training has always been a place of passion. His love for the sport has driven him everyday, through injuries and all other obstacles, towards enormous success in an ever-improving Auburn cross country program, guided by head coach Peter Watson.
"Auburn does not have the same running tradition that some of the other universities around the country have," he said. "We really wanted to change that. We wanted people to want to be on this team and have the honor of running here, knowing that they will get faster and be part of something special."
Earlier this season, the junior and the rest of the men's cross country met that goal by bringing home a fifth-place finish from the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., which tied for the highest finish in Auburn cross country history at the national competition.
The monumental season for Auburn has provided a thrill for Novack and the entire team, but they are all eager to improve the program even more so.
"This season has been a really good symbol for what this team has been trying to accomplish for the past three years and where we are headed," Novack said. "We are building a high-caliber program here and it's something that I take a lot of pride in."
The NCAA Championships race was his first national meet to compete in and something that he will remember forever.
"I'm hoping and I believe that it won't be my last national meet," he said, "but it was interesting. It was cold and drawn down, but being able to be there and see the other runners from across the nation was amazing. When you get there, everyone is good. Being there and finishing well at my first national meet was really special."
Since coming to Auburn, Novack noted that his calling to run has grown louder. His passion for the sport has increased and he continues to follow his desire to be the best that he can be on a team filled with promise.
"Ever since my freshman year, I knew that this team was going to start going places," he said. "We are ready to start winning."
With three years of collegiate running experience under his belt and one year of eligibility left, Novack is still focused on the only thing that he has ever focused on: being the best that he possibly can be.