Justin DeLuzio will forever remember his last NCAA cross-country race.
The senior from Gwynedd Mercy University in Pennsylvania has become a viral name after video surfaced of a deer violently crashing into him from the side mid-race.
It happened at the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships, around the 2km mark of an 8km race.
“Someone yelled, and I caught a glimpse of the deer, and I … I just didn’t expect it,” DeLuzio said, according to FoxSports.com. “It just flipped me end over end.
“I sat there in disbelief, I wasn’t quite sure what had happened. Part of me was like ‘This is your last race! Get up!’ while the other part like ‘I just got hit by a deer! Take a breath and acknowledge what just happened!’”
DeLuzio somehow got up, with some help, and completed the course in 31 minutes, 16 seconds, or 6:18 mile pace. He placed 294th out of 351 finishers.
“I guess I got lucky it wasn’t a bigger one lol,” was posted from DeLuzio’s Facebook account, adding on NBC Philadelphia, “I know if that deer was a little bit bigger I could have been in serious trauma.”
DeLuzio came away with bruises and soreness, his coach said in a press release.
“We were worried about his health for a while, but we’re proud to see him fight through this along with his teammates, get up and finish his last collegiate cross-country race,” coach Kevin Clark said in the release.Follow @nbcolympictalk
The NBC Philadelphia report with DeLuzio’s interview: