By Christopher Hunt
It’s not uncommon for high school runners to be fans of other high school runners. It’s not unlikely for athletes to look at each other like stars, knowing their stats and their tendencies and their running style without ever having exchanged a word.
Marcellus senior Chris Stogsdill has been one of those runners. The one that looks up to names that frequent headlines on the internet and newspapers. But now the Iona College-bound Stogsdill is one of the stars that he looked up to. If he’s not his biggest fan, he should be.
“I never really considered myself a runner,” Stogsdill said. “I considered myself someone who was good at running.”
Now he’s more like great at running. Stogsdill holds the fastest time in the nation this season after dropping 4:07.93 in the mile at the CNY Coaches Meet May 2. He followed that two weeks later with a 9:06.78 win in the 3,200 at the Eddy Memorial Meet in Schnectady. Stogsdill tried to claim that he wasn’t surprised by his own improvement, but he has already shocked himself this season.
“Ms. Busa came up to me and told me that I’d run 4:07 and I told her to shut up,” said Stogsdill, whose previous personal best was 4:17.52. I didn’t know how fast I thought I ran but I didn’t think it was that fast.”
Stogsdill had set out these goals before the season. He wanted to run 4:07. He still plans to break 9 minutes in the 3,200, an attempt he’ll likely make on Friday at the New York State Championships at Cicero-North Syracuse. He started studying Jack Daniels’ training methods. He shows up to practice with an idea of how he wants to train and helps build his own training program with Busa and his cross country coach Oscar Jenson. But that mile race turned faith and belief into confirmation and confidence.
“I started looking at myself,” he said. “I had always put the other runners in the country on a pedestal. Now it’s like I hope I get to race them because I want to see how I would do against them.”
Clearly, Stogsdill pre-season goals weren’t unrealistic but it wouldn’t be difficult to call them a stretch. But Stogsdill said he felt like he underachieved last year.
“He’s very sure of himself,” Busa said. “He’s really grown into that. It’s something that’s very different. Now he can go into races and he’s just more at ease with himself.”
He decided that he couldn’t just train hard. Stogsdill needed to stop eating like a teenager and going to be only when there was nothing else to do. He started reading books on running, studying training schedules. Stogsdill always took running seriously but now it’s become a lifestyle; serious enough that he’s aiming at the 2012 Olympic Games.
“Every since I started working with him as a sophomore that’s what he wanted to do,” Busa said. “One of the things I’ve seen in him is the spark within that he thinks that’s a possibility.”
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com.