by Corinne Previte ’17
Damon Kilgore ’18 ended his 2015 cross country season on a high note with a trip to Nationals in Wisconsin. He ran the 8K in 25:30 minutes. With his 2016 campaign underway, Kilgore is excited and hopes to receive a bid for Nationals once more.
“The experience was different, I have never been in a race like that before. I had to realize if I’m given another shot I’ll have to execute a bit differently,” he said.
Over the summer, Kilgore put in significant miles, which makes this upcoming season look like a promising one. Kilgore has already clinched multiple first-place finishes; he’s also been voted the Commonwealth Coast Conference Runner of the Week twice and National Runner of the Week once.
“He put in the work this summer which is paying off in the long run. We’re working on getting out hard and then maintaining during the race,” Coach Justin Wikerd said about Kilgore.
Wikerd hopes Kilgore will receive a bid for Nationals, but to reach that goal, he will need to adjust his running style. Wikerd said, “the importance is keeping things reigned in until the end of the season so that he’s ready to go.” Kilgore said he hopes to eventually run a sub-25-minute 8K.
Not only does he want to improve as an individual athlete, but he would also love to see an improvement for the entire team. Kilgore said, “We have a pretty young team that is going to lead to a stronger team. There is a lot of excitement already.”
This year, the team is focusing on the “little things.” Kilgore said, “We are doing core every day and drills. It was definitely needed in the program and is a huge improvement, I am expecting that to pay off at some point.”
Kilgore’s ultimate goal is for the team to place at the conference meet. He said, “The landscape is different this year. There are a lot of question marks of who’s running for other teams with new guys coming in and people graduating. It’s a toss-up for the three to four slots, but we should take the opportunity where the order is established to see where we can place.”
Overall, Kilgore is “very optimistic” about the team and is excited to see where this season leads them.