Success comes like clockwork for Grant runner

Thursday, September 13, 2007
By Scott Brandenburg
Chronicle correspondent

Isaiah VanDoorne has shown amazing consistency as a runner for Grant.

VanDoorne posted average times during his freshman season, but improvement has since been like clockwork.

In each of the past two seasons, VanDoorne shaved over a minute off his best time. Now, the Tiger senior is anticipating another sparkling season after convincingly winning individual honors at the Fremont Hill and Bale Invitational.

I like to look at other runners and see what their normal progression is as far as their times, said VanDoorne. When you're a freshman, it seems like their times are so fast, but when you look at how they got there, you can see it's definitely attainable.

VanDoorne's personal best entering the season was 16:13. The 17-year-old runner shaved nine seconds off that time last Saturday in Fremont.

VanDoorne's mark was a course record for the event and helped him finish ahead of the talented Packer running attack.

I was disappointed at first during the race because I didn't think we started very fast at all, said VanDoorne.

Then, coming down the stretch, I noticed the big sign with the times on it and I picked it up.

It's very satisfying to set the record and beat the Fremont runners. A lot has been expected of me since I beat them in the mile last year, so it's nice to do it so early in the season.

Michael Scarbrough, Grant's cross country coach, isn't surprised by VanDoorne's success.

When you put in the time, it usually pays off, said Scarbrough. Isaiah's got that dedication. He's improved every year and a lot of it is because he he works so hard in the offseason.

The biggest difference right now is his confidence. So many times for us, when we see a runner in red and white (Fremont), we tend to back down, but Isaiah's starting to believe he can run with the top runners.

VanDoorne finished 21st at the Division 3 state meet last year to earn all-state honors. He also finished 12th in both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs at the track and field state finals with personal-best times.

He continues to have high aspirations for his senior season and beyond.

When I started the year, I had plans on going to Wisconsin to try and qualify for the Foot Locker race in California, said VanDoorne.

Now that I already have a 16-minute run, I feel pretty confident I can get to low the low 15's and can qualify.

I'm not one of those people who want to try and be an all-star runner and get in all the magazines. I run hard now so I can run in college and get a good education. I think with a good year, I can run and go to a Division 1 college and I'd like to study Law.