Confidence is a strength for Ball High sophomore cross-country athlete Kelly Carmicheal — it’s helped guide him to his first state cross-country meet, and it’s what’s got his sights firmly set on leaving his name atop the school record books before he’s done as a Tor.
To do that he’ll have to beat 2008 alumni Frank Bohn — who longtime head coach Sherman Elias says is the person who really got the program started — and his 15:55 cross-country record. In addition to hold Ball High’s best cross-country time, Bohn also was the first boy Elias took to state and went on to run at LSU.
On Thursday, right before heading to the state meet at Round Rock, Carmicheal finally got to meet the man whose school records he wants to best.
“It was pretty fun,” Carmicheal said. “I didn’t know what he looked like or anything.”
Also heading to the state cross-country meet will be Friendswood senior Garrett McGregor, who had a ninth-place finish (16:22.90) at the Region III-6A meet to punch his ticket to state for the first time in his high school career.
“I was nervous because I wasn’t supposed to be where I ended up, but I knew what I needed to run and I ran that, and that’s what got me to make it,” McGregor said.
Inspired by his grandfather and uncle, both former Division I college runners, McGregor (who will run at Mississippi College) began long-distance running competition in junior high. In this past offseason, McGregor ratcheted up his dedication to the sport to an even higher level than before.
“I changed my routine up,” McGregor said. “I ate a lot better, I got some sleep, and I made sure I had the goal and remained committed to it.”
At the Region III-5A meet, Carmicheal’s 14th-place finish (16:54.70) was just enough to get him to his first-ever state meet.
“It was a close cut, which is what I expected, but I’m glad I made it,” Carmicheal said.
At the state meet, the college-bound McGregor said he is looking forward to testing himself against a high level of competition, while the younger Carmicheal is trying to build up his resume in pursuit of his goals.
The UIL cross-country state championships will be held Saturday morning at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.