AOTW: Eric Fitzpatrick

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) The College of Southern Idaho has a cross country program back for the first time in the 21st century.

Lindsey Anderson accepted the task of re-starting a program and one runner has put CSI on the map.

Eric Fitzpatrick committed to Oklahoma State on a division one cross-country and track scholarship out of high school.

"I didn't really fall into the groove of collegiate sports that well. And ended up moving back after my first year there,” said Eric Fitzpatrick.

Taking a six year hiatus he now finds himself wearing a pair of spikes, and stepping to the starting line.

"I started getting back in better shape and so I thought there would be something I could offer to a school,” Fitzpatrick said.

And offer he did. He's earned himself a national individual champion title.

"It’s an honor. It's something i just have to give credit to the athletic department here, and to Coach Anderson for preparing me for anything that was going to happen," Fitzpatrick said.

He crossed the finish line with a time of 24:45:00 in the 8K race.

"It was just a perfect storm of things to come together," Fitzpatrick said.

His entire season earned him first team All-American honors and he was named NJCAA Men's Division One Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

He attributes a work ethic any runner needs to maintain.

"To know that you did everything you could possibly do throughout the season to put you in the position you want to be in," Fitzpatrick said.

One week after completing the NJCAA cross country nationals Fitzpatrick was on his way to Topeka, Kansas to run 13-point-one miles in the NJCAA men's half marathon championships.

"You know you're not going to lose that much fitness in a week. That's not a long time in the kind of realm of running and what you're doing. So we just kind of tried to hold on and have a good plan going in," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick told me he had high expectations for the race.

He finished in fifth with a time of 1:10:12.

"Yeah running is definitely just a part of what I do," Fitzpatrick said.

When his collegiate career comes to an end Eric will continue to run, it's too big a part of his life to give up. But to what extend only time will tell.

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