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Originally published September 21, 2013 at 7:05 PM | Page modified September 21, 2013 at 7:39 PM

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Five questions with Gig Harbor cross-country runner Wolfgang Beck

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Gig Harbor cross-country runner Wolfgang Beck is the Tides’ senior captain who placed second at the Class 4A state meet last year and also won last year’s Jim Danner Championship at the Nike Pre-Nationals.

Q: Your team was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation prior to the season and is considered one of the favorites to come out of your region. Do you guys feel any pressure?

A: We don’t really get caught up in the rankings. If you’re ranked No. 1 in the nation, everyone just puts a target on your back and wants to beat you. It doesn’t matter if we’re No. 1 ranked or No. 50 ranked. We go out with the same strategy every weekend.

Q: Head coach Mark Wieczorek is now in his third season at Gig Harbor after representing Team USA at last year’s Pan Am Games in Mexico. How happy are you that he’s your coach?

A: He’s just a really smart guy. He knows exactly what type of training we need. He’s a semi-Olympian, and I believe he’s going to make the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He keeps us confident because we know we’re getting the best possible training of any team in the nation.

Q: Mahmoud Moussa is now running for Gig Harbor after transferring from Arcadia High School in California, where he won a national championship. How does his experience help?

A. Mahmoud is kind of a philosophical runner. He’s brought a lot of input from that Arcadia team. He knows what it’s like to be a lightly underrated team and then win the national title.

Q: Your team placed first at the season-opening UW Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 17. Were you guys happy with the performance?

A: I was really proud of our top four. We all crossed the line together and we felt really strong. It’s exciting. Our team is definitely where it needs to be, and we’re just looking to progress throughout the year.

Q: Do you think this year’s team has the potential to take the state title and even have a shot at being crowned national champions?

A: We have the state championships in early November. Right now it looks like we have a great shot of winning it. We want to get that trophy back. After that, we’re going to move on to regionals. And yes, we do want to win the national title. We have all the tools we need.

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