The Colony senior Brandon White has qualified for the Class 5A cross country state meet for the second straight season.
White said that his experience of running in Round Rock last season will be a huge advantage for him when he runs the 5K course at Old Settler’s Park next Saturday at 10:40 a.m. He ran to a time of 17:07.9 in his first-ever state appearance last season.
And while White relished the experience, he set out to improve on that performance this year. He has certainly done that and more.
Prior to this season, White hadn’t completed a race in less than 17 minutes. This year, there has been at least four different occasions when he has clocked a sub 17-minute time, which includes a personal-best 16:29.7 at the Plano ISD Invitational on Aug. 13.
White’s highest individual finish came at the UTA Region II Preview Meet on Sept. 10, when he ran to third overall in a time of 16:51 at Lynn Creek Park. On Tuesday morning, White returned to Grand Prairie for the Region II-5A meet. It was a successful return as he earned an individual state qualification for placing 15th overall in a time of 18:20.42.
It’s not just over the past year that White has shaved significant time. When he was a freshman, White ran a mile time of 6:42. He has since reduced that time to 4:40.
In this week’s student-athlete profile, White chats about what went well for him at the Region II-5A meet, his experience of competing in the state meet last year and how much it will help him to prepare for the same event this upcoming week.
SLM: Congrats on qualifying for the state meet for the second consecutive season. What was so good about your performance at the Region II-5A meet?
BW: Coming into the region meet, we were told that it was going to be a three-mile course and it actually ended up being three-and-a-half miles. But it was kind of funny because I started to sprint when I was three miles in and I snuck into ninth place. When I got past three miles, I started to get tired and I died off a little bit. But I got lucky enough to get in a place where I would get to state. It was a fun race and I was really pushing it because I had state on my mind the entire time.
SLM: How would you describe the course at the regional meet?
BW: It was a fun course, just a lot of twists and turns. All of those curves kind of get to you a little bit. It was mostly flat. There was one part at the mile mark where it was a sharp incline, but just for a little bit.
SLM: How would you assess how your season has been going?
BW: I feel like it had been good. I feel like that I had made good improvement. When I was a junior for the 5K, I ran a 17:06. This year, I ran a 16:08. So, I had a minute improvement, and that’s what I thought about. Holding that steady pace made me feel good and confident about myself.
SLM: Last year, The Colony competed in the state meet as a team for the first time since 2015. How would you describe that experience?
BW: State last year was fun. Going to the hotel room the night before and really getting prepped for the race was amazing. The actual race was a fun course. It was really fast. A lot of people were there. The entire time, there are people trying to pass you left and right. You’ve got to be hyper aware. But it was a really fun experience.
SLM: How much do you feel that experience of running at the state meet last year will benefit you when you compete next Saturday?
BW: It’s going to help me a lot because I have some experience under my belt. I’ll be able to perform a little better because I know what’s coming.
SLM: What did you do during the offseason to prepare yourself for your senior season?
BW: I stayed consistent with my training. When coach (Christopher) Lowry came in, I was doing the training that he put in for us, which helped out a lot. I just tried to put in as many miles as I could.
SLM: What made you want to give cross country a try?
BW: Running was the one thing that I was good at. I was better at running that anything else. When I ran in middle school, I figured that I should run in high school.
SLM: Is running cross country in college a goal for you?
BW: I’m still looking. As of right now, I’m on course to graduate early. I might actually run for a college in the springtime. But I’m still looking at colleges. I have colleges like TAMU in mind, which is in Texarkana.
SLM: A lot of runners have a routine to get them zoned in for a meet. What do you do to get mentally prepared for a race?
BW: The night before, I just have a lot of carbs in my dinner. I like to listen to a lot of music that really gets me pumped up, big beat drops. I also like to go to bed early, self meditate and get my mind ready for the race.