After 4 years of dedication and commitment to hard work, Ben Laverman and Nick Pandelakis will be heading to the Arizona Cross Country State Championship Meet on Saturday to finish off their high school cross country careers. These two student-athletes are the first to compete all four years for our HS cross country team and two of the original freshman team. It has been a great privilege for me to have been a part of their athletic progress these past 4 years.
As I looked back at their progression over the last 4 years, it struck me that I had forgotten where they started from. It is always easy to look at where they are now and say, “they are just natural talents”. It is not until you understand where they came from and the effort that they put in that you truly understand their commitment level.
Ben and Nick started their freshman HS running careers off with NPX with very similar races, finishing with 22:43 and 22:34 minute 5k times. As their freshman season progressed, Nick was able to bring his 5k time down to 20:32 and Ben to 21:43. To put this in comparison, we have freshman girls this year that can match these times and our freshman varsity men are running under 19 minutes. As their sophomore and junior years progressed they became more focused on their running and started putting in the miles during the season and the off-season. This translated to some impressive gains for both. By the end of their junior season, Nick had dropped his 5k time to 17:25 and Ben to 18:29.
At the end of their junior season they made a goal with their teammates to do everything they could to win the Division 4 State Title. During the Summer, each ran around 375 miles which equates to over 30 miles per week. They ran most of these miles solo while they travelled with their families. This alone is an amazing accomplishment. Now through 25 weeks of the training season they have accumulated over 600 miles each. Over the course of the season they have become the leaders of this team through their hard work and effort.
Please make sure you wish them the best as they head to State this weekend or better yet come out and support them.
Cave Creek Golf Course – Saturday, November 4th
19th Ave and Greenway
Division 4 HS Women – 12:45pm
Division 4 HS Men – 1:45pm
Check them out in one of their freshman mile time trials with some other recognizable faces.