It’s an old combination: a highly touted freshman with just as high expectations for his first season. This is the case for cross-country freshman C.J. Albertson.
This summer, Albertson, a native of Clovis, Calif., joined an ASU cross-country team hungry for a NCAA championship birth after being so close for the past two years.
He very well could be one of the pieces that helps this team get past that hurdle. And the way he goes about his potential is admirable.
Feeling the pressure or not, he knows his role. Albertson has made it very easy for himself to find success in a simple manner.
“I just go out and run,” Albertson said. “In the summer I told coach, ‘I’m going to run. I’m going put in the time. So just keeping that approach and, as long as I’m putting in the work and doing what I’m suppose to do, I’ll end up wherever I should be.’”
Deservingly, Albertson’s tireless work ethic hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“It’s great to see,” redshirt sophomore Garrett Baker-Slama said. “When freshmen come in, it’s always hit or miss. Even (with) the best freshman across the nation, you never know how they’re going to do transferring to college.
“But he has really come in, and you can tell day in and day out that he’s always working hard.”
There is no doubt though that he is going to have a huge impact on this year’s team and how far it gets.
His team and coaches expect him to be one of the team’s top scoring runners.
“He’s huge to our team and our team efforts this year. Typically I wouldn’t put that burden on a freshman, but he’s a real mature kid and he’s really level-headed and that’s one of the reasons why I recruited him to come to Arizona State,” men’s coach Louie Quintana said.
For an 18-year-old freshman, Albertson is more mature than the average newcomer. A unique trait like that will positively affect the team for his career.
“I think his maturity really ties into how he is with the team and it goes back to his work ethic. He’s starting to become a leader even at the young age that he’s at.” Baker-Slama said.
An interesting coincidence is that the prodigious Albertson came from the same high school as sophomore runner Macy Bricks, and also Olympian and ASU legend, Kyle Alcorn.
Alcorn won the 2008 NCAA Men’s Outdoor and Indoor Track and Field Championships in the steeplechase.
Although Alcorn is better known for being his success in track and field, the similarities between the two runners have already been pointed out and will only add to some expectations and pressure for Albertson.
“C.J. is very similar to Kyle in a sense that he has that heel-demeanor. So he doesn’t get too high or too low, which is extremely important as a distance runner,” Quintana said.
The two do have some obvious differences as well. But it surely isn’t anything to worry about.
“I think that in a way he is a little different than Kyle in terms of his cross country prowess,” Quintana said. “I think he might be a better cross-country runner than Kyle was.”
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