At the number 12 spot for race countdown to Club Nats is featuring highlights from XC State Champs in Virginia and Wisconsin.
1998 Virginia AAA State Cross Country – The Plains, VA – 5K course
After trading his clunky size 12 Etonic Stable Pros for some Asics 2030s in an appropriate size 10.5, Alan was able to take all that extra energy he was using for swim practice in the ‘97 season and translate it to his 2nd title as big bad State Champ (first was in the 3200 the previous spring). Appearing to be a hopeless settlement for 3rd (after he had finished 2nd as a frosh), he proved himself and the spectators wrong as he chased down Andrew McCloud and Dan Heiner in an epic battle of destruction the last 600 meters to claim the thrown. Not only did he win, but he put the hurt on so strong that he was a full 6 seconds ahead. This outdid stud Bobby Lockhart’s time of 16:03 in the AA race as he finished #1 in AAA with a 15:41. BFF and future Saucony athlete/lawyer/Minneapolis City Council member Jacob Frey was 5th in his race.
1 Alan Webb 10 South Lakes 15:41.3
2 Daniel Heiner 12 Centreville 15:47.2
3 Andrew Macleod 12 Oakton 15:48.3
4 David Ehlert 12 Potomac Falls 15:52.4
5 Jacob Frey 12 Oakton 15:54.9
As a junior in ’99 for the last VA State XC meet of the century, Alan won again setting a new course record on the challenging terrain in 15:08 (runner up Matt Maline in 15:50).
The following year as a senior in 2000, with a fierce cold wind which affected many of the runners, “Webb simply parted the wind as he ran a sizzling 15:03 to break his own course record“. Senior Matt Maline picked the wrong state and year to be born as he once again finished second in 15:32.
2000 Wisconsin D1 State Cross Country – Wisconsin Rapids, WI – 4K course
If you got through that long read of Alan’s insane accomplishments at the state xc meets alone, you got to here. I was thrilled to make it as an individual to the all prestigious place called “State”. (Not “States”. There’s only 1 in Wisconsin; an argument Alan and I have. Uncle Rico agrees – its “State!” And like Uncle Rico, I wish I could go back in time.. I’d take State.. I’d a gone pro…well likely not, but you can always dream).
The plan was to get out and once again run hard and contemplate why I put myself through all this agony and pain just to prove I’m a cool person who can run decently fast. I figured if I ran well maybe I could think about running in college. I nervously waited on the bus during the morning and did my digestive system a favor by passing up the box of donuts the moms had provided for a post race treat. I was now wise and experienced as a competitor after learning my lesson at the conference meet. I hadn’t quite grasp the concept that food needs time to digest to provide adequate energy and left a pile of puke right next to the finish line.
The starter explained how in case there was a fall within the first 100m they would restart the race. The gun went off and about 10m later I was getting trampled on the ground. There was no restart, so I was panicking as I was close to dead last heading into the narrow section of woods. I had never been in the back and never experienced passing as many people as I did during those next 2 miles.
Somehow with about 600m to go I was trailing the pack of girls in the 20-25th place and running toward my best time ever. Once again, those final 200m were painful as the girls just ahead of me sprinted to a fast finish. I pulled another “me” as I looked as if I was swimming through the grass instead of running. Thankfully I had put some distance on the girls behind me and pulled off a 27th place in a PR time of 15:20 on my toughest course I had run on. I was now an “honorable mention” for State XC finishers in the toughest division. I never imagined as a freshman, that I would be a name of honor in Oshkosh West running history, just like the dreamy senior Matt Lenahan (winner of WIAA State in 1997 and future Badger).
Let me tell you, if there was ever a time in my life (up to that point) that I thought I deserved “baller status” it was then confirmed.