Creative Technologies Academy’s sophomore Les Miner was named All-American last weekend at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, with a time of 17:53. The meet took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday, December 13.
More than 3,000 youth athletes journeyed for the championship and competed at Balloon Fiesta Park. The youth competition took place in two-year age divisions—236 of whom were in Miner’s 15-16 year-old age group. These age divisions provide young athletes the opportunity to compete with other athletes of similar ability. Entry for the national championship is based on athlete performances at preliminary, Association and Regional levels and Miner qualified two weeks ago at a Detroit meet. He also set two new school records this season and was the runner up for the Class D Championships.
In order to be named All-American, he needed to finish in the top 25 at nationals.
“I knew I wanted All-American, but seeing the times of all the great athletes at this race made me doubt that goal,” said Miner. “But my family, friends and coaches believed in me. When the gun went off I didn’t think about anything but running.” While the course proved to be challenging, Miner never thought he couldn’t do it and remembered the encouragement and advice of his family, friends and coaches.
At the first mile, he was in 28th place and put an extra surge in his step to move him up to 18th place by mile two. Two runners passed him in the final mile putting him in 20th place. “The speed up drained my energy and the altitude made it hard to breath,” commented Miner. “The race was well set up and located on a difficult course,” he added.
“Les did very well this past cross country season,” praised Coach Danielle Davies. “He knew what he wanted and he pursued it. As he competed in the Junior Olympics, he had his mind set on being an All-American from the start and worked hard and pushed forward to reach his goal. We are very proud of Les and all he has accomplished.”