Dustin Horter posted a time of 15:18.20 and won his 2017 XC season opening race.
It was a beautiful day at National Trailway for the OHSAA Early Season Invitational. The team left Lakota East at about 5:30 in the morning and was the first to enter the course. We began to scan the course that some of us were familiar with and others were just seeing for the first time. It was in good condition as far as I could tell and the conditions promised fast, first race times for all competitors.
The team began to warm up our usual one and a half miles and soon got back to camp for stretching. We then made our way to the line where we continued our pre-race routine with drills and strides.
The gun went off and I immediately moved to the front. I knew there was no reason for me not to go out as hard as I usually do. Learning from the past, I made sure the pace was honest from the beginning and never looked back. Coach Thomas claimed my first 400 was a 1:06, a little hot, but that's just the way the race naturally got out. By the mile mark, I was coming through around 4:44-4:45 and was feeling composed. The back field is always one of the tougher parts of the course because it's easy to fall asleep there. Trying to really keep things going, I stayed on the gas (or so I felt) and pushed the field. Then I proceeded to the long straight away to the two mile mark, going through in about 9:40 (4:55 mile). At this point I was feeling good, but it was evident I didn't have my full arsenal due to it being my first 5K in quite some time. Nevertheless, I stuck in there and kept my form up through the forest. I reached the top corner of the course and at that point, everything was downhill. Knowing this, I opened up my stride, picked up my knees and put my head down for the rest of the race. I was unsure how far behind me my competitors were and I didn't look back to check. With 400m to go, I started to speed up to make up for my slower pace in the forest and ended up running around 5 minutes for my last mile.
I came through the line in 15:18, which I considered a great start for myself this season, especially on the course I ran it on. I came out two straight years and ran 16 flat on the state course and to be far beyond that and not even be near the condition I envision myself being in come mid season, I felt very good about it all. I felt as though I could have gone faster, but decided in the end that I could do that next weekend on my home course at VOA for the Lakota East Fall Classic.