Melendez runs to win

Humboldt cross-country runner Lulu Melendez competing in State competition.

Humboldt’s cross-country athletes were recognized by SEK-sports.com last week for their best times this year.

On the girls side, Lulu Melendez (22:14), Leah Mueller (23:04) and Zoey Wilson (23:11) were selected as SEK Elite second team. Madi White (23:17) was chosen as an SEK Elite Honorable Mention.

With SEK-sports.com not basing their selections on actual times posted at the All-League meet on Oct. 17, Humboldt head coach Eric Carlson gave his perspective on the runners who achieved All-League honors from the actual meet.

“I was very pleased with our running at League this year,” Carlson said. “We had four girls and two boys earn All-League honors. Sophomores Lulu, Leah, and Melina (Hess) all earned their second All-League award. Senior Zoey Wilson earned her third All-League. Our league only requires four runners to form a team, and normally placing four runners in the top ten and your fifth runner at number 11 will allow you to get the League championship. Unfortunately, Fredonia had four of the top five runners.”

On the boys’ side, Drew Wilhite (17:01) was chosen for SEK Elite Top 20, while Sam Neeley (18:34) was picked as an SEK Elite second team member.

“On the boys’ side, we knew Drew was going to continue to be a top runner in our League,” Carlson said. “He exceeded that expectation winning his second consecutive League individual title with a comfortable lead, and his third All-League in as many years. He has been our number one runner since the middle of his freshman year and he is a great asset to our program.

“Sam is the kid I am most proud of. His freshman year he wanted to be a sprinter in track. At the end of his sophomore year, we convinced him to do cross country to build his stamina. By the end of the season, he was one of our better runners. This year he really dedicated himself to practices and it paid off with an All-League placing. His growth as a runner, his work ethic, and his coachability all make Sam a fun and personally rewarding kid to coach.”

Carlson noted that one of the first things he tells his student-athletes in cross country and track is that they are focused on only three meets in the year: League, Regionals, and State. It is nice to win medals early, Carlson said, but getting into running shape takes time, so the program tries to take it slow in an effort to remain healthy at the end of the year. This year it was especially important since most kids did not run from April until August of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You can’t ask the kids to do any more than running their best at the end of the season, which they did,” Carlson said.

 not basing their selections on actual times posted at the All-League meet on Oct. 17, Humboldt head coach Eric Carlson gave his perspective on the runners who achieved All-League hono

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