PICKERINGTON — Washington High School junior Kameron Morris has made great strides since last season.
In 2016, Morris placed 59th overall (56th as a team member) at the Division II District cross country meet with a time of 18:35.19.
This year, Morris won the Frontier Athletic Conference meet and placed 14th at Rio Grande (13th as a team member) in 16:57.27.
This placement qualified Morris to his first Regional cross country meet, held on a very cold Saturday, Oct. 28 at Pickerington North High School.
Morris placed 46th overall with a time of 17:24.73.
He needed to be in the top 28 to advance to State.
The Record-Herald spoke with Morris and his coach, Ryan Day, after the event.
“He’s a little disappointed right now with his finish,” Day said. “He ran a really, really strong, aggressive race. He put himself in a position to get out (to State). He just didn’t have quite enough at the end to push through. But, we’re really proud of him.
“Kameron and most of the team have had a really good year,” Day said. “I think he’s a good example for our other runners as to what it takes to advance in the postseason. This was his first time at the Regional.
“It’s really tough to figure out what it takes to get out,” Day said. “Maddy (Garrison) didn’t get out her first time here. Kameron got a taste of it and he’ll know what it takes next year.
“I think he’ll remember this event and use it to motivate him for next year,” Day said. “He was 46th out of 181 runners, so, that was a really strong showing.”
“I just got out like any other race,” Morris said. “I pushed myself. I got out hard the first mile. And then I tried to push it more in the second mile with a bigger group in front of me that was running a little faster. I tried to stay with them.
“I kind of fell apart towards the end of the second mile,” Morris said. “Going into the last 800 meters. I felt great. I just wasn’t in the pace I could have been in. It’s just a cold day and the weather got to me.”
Morris spoke about the training regimen.
“We would start a week with a four or five mile run at a solid pace, say 6:30 mile pace,” Morris said. “We would go into the middle of the week with a little bit of speed then, by the end of the week, we would dim it down, getting ready for the race ahead, preparing our legs and stuff like that.”
What will it take to get back up to Regionals and hopefully out to State in 2018?
“I’m going to have to prepare myself to the best of my abilities,” Morris said. “I’ll have to push myself harder than I did this year; just be a leader and get my mind right throughout the races leading up to the Regional and State meets.”
What about running at Regionals, representing your high school among the other elite runners?
“It’s very empowering,” Morris said. “I appreciate as far as I’ve gotten; it’s all thanks to the Lord. I couldn’t have gotten where I am without Him.”
Morris spoke about his upcoming athletic endeavors.
“I am probably going to wrestle this winter,” Morris said. “I’ll be running outdoor track in the spring.”