STATE. We did it!

It has been a long season. One to look back on with great pride. We set our sights high this summer. Some may even suggest we set our sights too high. I disagree. If we had not set impressive goals we may not have made it as far as we did. Ending the school season with an 11th and 18th place at State. I am elated.

Andrew Gordon crossed the finish line at the 2011 State Cross Country Championships in a time of 17:58 coming in 40th place. With one year to train, he set his goals. It would be his last season. He had never earned All State Honors. In order to do so he would need to place in the top 25. At the beginning of the summer, that was the goal, to be All State. However as the season started and progressed Andrew appeared to be dominating races and turning into a highly competitive runner. Going into the State championships, I was certain he would come out of the race in a top 10 finish. It would be tough, but I believed it was possible. The course in Jefferson City is probably one of the most difficult courses I have ever laid eyes on. Andrew gave it everything he had and crossed the finish line in 17:02 to earn 18th place. One could be disappointed in the placement. But when you really look at the outcome, there is nothing to be disappointed about. He improved his time by nearly a minute. Last year this time would have earned him a 6th place finish. This year the race was just faster. Every year is different, every race is different. Andrew did reach the one goal he had been striving for over the past 3 years. He finally earned the All State title. I am so proud of Andrew. But he is not finished yet. This upcoming Sunday he will be racing in Indiana at the Nike Cross Nationals, as well as the Midwest Footlocker championships later on this month. I am looking forward to his performances at these two races.

Hours later. It was Seth Brown’s turn. The class 1A race was about to begin. Going into this race similar to Andrew’s, there were goals. Goals which were intense but were possible. There was one runner who we both knew would probably win, but after him the rest was up in the air, it was anyones race. Seth has been training well and had mentally prepared to blow the field away. He definitely was an underdog. Not many people expected him to run at the top. However at mile 2 he was in 5th place and it looked as if he was gaining on 4th place. It was so exciting. With about 400 to go there is a down hill which leads right to the up hill finish. I saw Seth running, but he did not look the same. I knew something was up. There was a group of 6 runners creeping up on him. I was yelling hoping he could keep them off of his tail. With 200 meters to go, Seth was running in slow motion. I knew something was wrong. Steps before the finish line one runner pasted, then Seth collapsed. The other 5 guys quickly sprinted past him. For a moment I am sure my heart stopped. I had no idea what to do but then in a blink of an eye Seth was up and running across the finish line. I seen runners collapse several times before the finish. This is one of the most intense gut wrenching sports out there. I was so proud of Seth for picking himself of and finishing. He really did give everything he had out there. Nothing was left on the course. After the race, Seth stated, “I could have given more, but it would have taken my life”, Words of a true fighter. I am so happy. Finishing in 11th place in a time of 17:45 earning All State Honors. It was a great day. Seth ran over 40 seconds faster than last year. He still has 2 years to develop and dominate the State course. Runners better watch out. With a the fight Seth has in him he will be someone to watch next year! Seth will be competing in the Midwest Footlocker Championships later this month.

Ultimately I believe these 2 runners ran some amazing races. They worked so hard and made some major improvements over the year. I am so lucky to be apart of their successes!

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