Wayde Hall knows this track and field season will be his last for the Stillwater Ponies. That means one thing: It’s all or nothing.
“It’s pretty exciting because you know you have to lay it all out your last year,” said Hall, who’s been on the varsity track and cross-country teams since he was a ninth-grader. “You know you can’t make up for it for the next season. That’s it. This is it.”
That mentality has worked out pretty well so far for Hall, who won the cross-country state meet with a 15:21.00 time while helping the Ponies capture their second consecutive Class 2A team title.
He calls it the best moment of his high school career … so far.
“It was really smooth. I felt super good in that race,” Hall said. “The last 800 was so fast. I’ve never felt that good in a race before.”
But it won’t be his last season as a competitive runner. Hall and teammate Eric Colvin, accomplished in his own right, will both race for the University of Minnesota next year.
The boys’ cross-country team not only captured the state title this November, but it had a strong showing at the state track and field meet one year ago, too. Hall placed third in the 3,200-meter run with a 9:19.68 time. Colvin placed in seventh, just 5.87 seconds behind Hall. Bjork clocked in at 15th overall to give Stillwater five racers in the top 15. Hall also added a fourth-place finish in the 1,600.
Hall, Colvin and fellow senior Sean Bjork are the distance-running leaders of this program. They’ve been working out together for a long time.
“We all train and push each other,” Hall said. “We’re competitive in the workouts, and that helps a lot. You have to keep your foot on the gas basically all the time.”
They’re hoping their presence and impact on the Stillwater program will have a lasting effect to continue the winning tradition.
“We’ve been good at doing the right things, not taking shortcuts, staying after and doing everything you have to in order to accomplish the goals you have,” Hall said. “The younger ones who want goals like we had know what it takes.”
Head cross-country and track and field coach Scott Christensen believes they’ve made a big impression on the younger kids. They force the underclassmen to be better.
“If we have those three kids 4:15 [per mile] or faster, then the rest of the team realizes that you have to be 4:15 to be good,” Christensen said. “That brings the standard up for the whole team and raises expectations.”
It should be a fun ride for Hall, Colvin and the rest of the Ponies this spring.
“Through high school we’ve had so much fun and developed a lot of camaraderie,” Hall said. “We really didn’t know each other much until running started. I think we can keep it going through college. It will probably help because we’ve had success with each other. I think that’s a good thing.”