Freshman Nate McClain powers toward an impressive finish for the first-time runner.

Big Horn runners make history for LPHS

Freshman Nate McClain described his experience at the recent Butte Invitational Cross Country Carnival like this: “Just jacked up on nerves. And then you’re running and you’re not thinking about anything except how much it hurts. But once you get down to that like last 100 and you sprint across that finish line, it feels so great to just say, ‘I did that.’” 

Along with teammate Tracen O’Connor—a junior and the only other member of the newly formed LPHS cross country team—McClain made history by becoming one of Lone Peak’s first competitive cross country racers. 

“This is my first time running ever,” said McClain, who was urged by friends try a different sport this fall. 

“A lot of them have asked me to play football and I’ve had to say, ‘I’m OK,’” said McClain. He finished with a time of 23:30 and that put him in 245th place out of 303 runners. O’Connor posted a faster time—21:46—and finished in the 176 slot. 

Coach Dave Brekke was thrilled with the solid showings from both runners. 

“They did really good. We’re timing them around here and trying to do eight-minute miles. And they both did faster than that over three miles,” said Coach Brekke, explaining how a typical cross country race is a 5k, or 3.1 miles. 

Next up: a high-profile meet in Missoula on Saturday, Sept. 29.

“That’s a really big meet. It’s called Mountain West,” said Brekke. “They will have most of the schools there. There will be more than a thousand kids there.”

Brekke mentioned he’s trying to get his runners into a meet in Big Timber, “But that’s iffy.” 

Coming up fast is state competition back in Missoula around the same course as the upcoming Mountain West.

When asked what he’s saying to other students who might be interested in joining the cross country team, McClain explained, “My pitch would be it might a rough start to get into running, but once you actually start, it’s honestly a lot of fun to be just out there and run.”—DM

 

Comment Here