At the end of a stellar season in which he won mutliple championships, Tam High senior cross country star Dan Milechman fell short at the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in San Diego Saturday, finishing 37th out of 40 runners.
Milechman said he simply had a bad day, battled all along the course but couldn't run as fast as he had over the past several weeks, during which he captured the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) title, North Coast Section (NCS) D-IV title and the state D-IV title.
Milechman said he didn't feel great when he woke up but still went out to the course at Morley Field in Balboa Park with high hopes.
When I got out there on the course, I knew pretty quickly that my legs didn't have it today, said Milechman, who ran the five-kilometer course in 16 minutes flat, one minute and one second behind boys race winner Lukas Verzbicas of Orland Hills, Illinois. I hung on and still pushed myself hard and at least caught a few people near the end, so it wasn't all bad.
Milechman said he didn't think running in the Foot Locker West Regionals last weekend had an adverse effect on him, although runners from the East, South and Midwest regions had an extra week between the regional and the national races.
I just didn't feel great today, he said. I'm used to racing every week. It was definitely doable, but I just didn't have a good day.
Despite his disappointment, Milechman kept it all in perspective. He said that before the season started, he mapped out two major goals: successfully defending his Division IV state championship and qualifying for the nationals race. He accomplished both.
I really accomplished everything I set out to do, he said. Obviously, I didn't perform as well as I would have liked today, but I'm proud that I made it this far.
Milechman will run track in the spring, but now embarks on the biggest decision of his young life: picking a Division I university where he can run cross country and challenge himself academically. He said he's identified Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and UCLA, all of which he's visited, as his top choices. He will finish his applications over the next several weeks, Milechman said.
They're all great schools and great programs, so we'll see, he said.