Co-valedictorian of his class at Royal Oak High School in Michigan, Andrew Whiteman belonged to the varsity track and the cross-country teams in high school. After his graduation, he left Michigan to pursue his bachelor of arts in biology at Oberlin College in Ohio. A recipient of the John Frederick Oberlin Merit Schilarship, Andrew Whiteman also ran track and cross country for the varsity teams at Oberlin.
Cross-country running takes place on courses that traverse through open or wooded areas. Many include hills and streams. Although no two courses are the same, most try to avoid paved areas as much as possible. In addition, they should navigate around dangerous hills, ditches, undergrowth, and other obstacles that could pose a hazard to runners.
US collegiate cross country courses, which are generally under the jurisdiction of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), must be at least 4,000 meters for men and 3,000 for women. Men’s championship courses are between 8,000 and 10,000 meters, and women’s between 5,000 and 6,000 meters.
Cross-country running has no time-outs, no half-time, and no other breaks. There are no substitutions. Once the race starts, runners run until the race is over. Because the course is situated in natural terrain, instead of a track, athletes must remain highly alert while running – large puddles and streams, as well as low-hanging branches, all present potential hazards that the runner must actively avoid.