"Fernando's racing ability is much improved from the fall," said coach Scott Simmons. Simmons evidenced his claim by pointing out Cabada's recent 13:54 indoor 5k win in Boston, which at the time was the fastest in the nation for a collegian.
"In December, Fernando finished 12th at the US Fall Championships with little specific training for the longer 10k distance," Simmons continued "He fell out of the top five over the last mile, but now has the strength to challenge anybody over the entire 12,000-meter distance."
In order to make the US national team that will compete in the World Cross Country Championships in St. Galmier, France in March, Cabada will either have to finish in the top six or close enough to be an alternate in the event a higher placer is not able to accept their spot on the team.
Cabada has experience in coming through when it counts. In 2001, he finished fifth at the US World Junior Championships earning a spot on the national junior team that competed at the world championships in Ostend, Belgium.
Simmons credits Cabada's progression to the right training and Cabada's own dedication. "Since our fall season, Fernando has committed to doing everything right," said Simmons. "He opted to spend Christmas break with my wife and I and really committed to a healthy positive lifestyle along with great workouts."
Cabada will face a tough 100-man field of elite runners including 2004 Olympians Abdi Abdirahman, Tim Broe, Jonathon Riley, Grant Robison, and Dathan Ritzenhein, along with 2000 Olympian Adam Goucher, US national champion Jason Luemke and NCAA champion Jorge Torres.