Matthew Lobojko, junior, was the only cross country runner at HR to make it to state this year. Needing to place in the top 15 at regionals in the individual race in order to make it to state, Lobojko placed 12th out of 117 competitors.
Lobojko started training on June 4 for five days a week, until the season started, when he then trained for six days a week. “One day will be speed, another day will be long run, another day will be easy, and another day will be tempo,” said Lobojko. Having only made it to state once before as an alternate for track, but never having competed for cross country, Lobojko said, “I am so excited to go to state because there hasn’t been a male state runner in nine years.”
Lobojko also has had many people support him in his endeavors with state. Scott Mortimer, senior, said, “I think we foster a good community in cross country. During races you’ll see varsity cheering on open when they’re warming up or JV cheering on varsity after their race.”
Lobojko and Mortimer are the top two HR runners in boys cross country and they not only train together but support each other as well. “[Scott’s supported me], because he’s trained with me and pushed me on runs and even with his ankle hurt, he’s still come in and supported me,” said Lobojko.
Dominic Douglass, social studies teacher and head cross country and track coach, is another one of Lobojko’s main encouragers. “He just embraces the grind, and he works so hard. He started running with us going into his seventh grade year, and I don’t know if he’s ever complained about a workout once,” said Douglass. “I think the best way to tell [that he’s set apart from others] is if you ever saw him on race day, and you look into his eyes, you know he’s ready to go.”
Douglass also supports Lobojko by designing his workouts and giving advice on other additional x factors involved such as nutrition and sleep. “Just kind of whatever he needs in life. He’s here every single day just to hang out, and I think that’s important for the team environment,” said Douglass. “He deserves it so much, so it’s good to see him reap the benefits of his hard work.”
Placing 80th out of 164 competitors in the 5A boys 5000 meter run, Lobojko said, “State was definitely a fun experience. I wasn’t ready for how fast everybody was going to be and the intensity of the race, and I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, but hopefully next year I’ll be more prepared for the race.”
Douglass put emphasis on the fact that this year was a no pressure situation, especially with Lobojko being a junior. “Our goal was that he gets experience there and that he is able to use that experience next year when I think he can place pretty high,” said Douglass.
Now that state’s over, Lobojko is looking forward to Nike Cross Regionals in Arizona on Nov. 23. “I am very excited because I should get a personal best there. I’m hoping for 15:40 or around that time,” said Lobojko. He also has a shot at making it to Nike Cross Nationals after regionals if he places as one of the top six runners in the region. Lobojko said, “The entire season has been built for regionals and state, so to finally make it was really cool and exciting.”
Delaney Atchison, Associate Editor