Sam Thomas (far left) ran in his third and final Nike Cross Nationals for Edina High School on Dec. 5. The senior ran No. 3 as the Hornets placed 13th in the team standings. Once back in Minnesota, Thomas reflected on the experience for MileSplit:
Wow, what an experience. This was a weekend that will stick with me for a long time; I had a lot of fun and am definitely going to miss running with my teammates.
The race itself taught me a lot. I think we had a lot of expectations for ourselves heading into the race, especially with our history of performing well at NXN in recent years. As a team, we were looking to improve on our 9th place finish in 2014 and hopefully get top 5 and I personally believed we had a legit shot at the podium. We had been running our workouts really well and a lot of us had success on Thanksgiving.
We ended up getting 13th. At first, I was really disappointed with this. We had a goal in mind and were pretty far off of it, but I think we were just out-raced. We have historically been very good at being patient through the mile and making sure that the race was won for us in the last 1000 meters. On this day, however, we just went out a little too aggressively (despite being in last place at the mile) and ended up losing a lot of ground in the last 600.
I told the guys before the race that I would be extremely proud of them regardless of what the outcome was. Obviously we would have liked to have been 8th place or better, but I do not think that this race takes anything away from what we have achieved over the course of the season. I am so incredibly lucky to work with a group of tenacious individuals every single day.
I am very excited to see what the guys can do next year. We had 13 guys run sub-17 at NXN Heartland (9 underclassmen), 7 more who ran sub 17:30, and 3 middle schoolers who have run 5:20 or faster and have extremely bright futures ahead of them. With hard work and dedication, I think they can do some special things. I feel like I should have some special conclusion, but here are some pictures from the infamous lanceelliott.smugmug.com:
We will see you all in track season!!