Brennan Bower knows his best running days are ahead of him.
Still, he can’t help but feel proud of what he accomplished this year.
Bower placed sixth in the Class 7A state cross country meet earlier this month, shaving more than half a minute off of last year’s time while leading the War Eagles to a fifth-place team finish.
It was the first year he took his offseason training seriously.
Last summer, Bower spent six months at orchestra camp, where he played the French horn.
This summer was different.
“I started the last week of May or so,” Bower said. “Started at, like, 30, then eventually by the end of the summer, I was doing 50. I was throwing in some speed things, too. I was doing tempos twice a week, which I had never done the season before, so I think that definitely helped me going into the season starting in a better place than I had before.”
It didn’t take Bower long to see the results. He finished with the top time (15:42) at the Region 5-7A meet, finishing in front of second-place Connor Old by just over a second.
“Being that it’s my first time training, I really wanted to see what I could do,” Bower said. “And I feel like there’s even more that I can get to eventually. I had no goals. It was just sort of, ‘Let’s see how fast I can get this year, and move on from that.’”
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Bower’s interest in cross country began in middle school, around the same time his interest in soccer began to wane.
It was during his sixth-grade year, Bower estimates, that he took part in a road race on Thanksgiving, ultimately finishing well enough to give the sport a shot.
“My dad ran in high school and everything, and he was like, ‘Get into running, start running.’ So, then I slowly got into it,” Bower said. “I started splitting my time between the two, and eventually got sick of soccer with all the crazy parents.”
Bower found cross country suited his personality better than soccer.
He enjoys the team aspect of cross country, getting to run alongside his teammates instead of competing against teammates for playing time.
“I don’t really see it as individual, because you’re running with teammates every single day,” Bower said. “The only time it’s individual is at the end of a race, you know? Even for some of the race you’ll be running with teammates, so your whole entire time you’re spending with other people doing the same things as you, just running and trying to get better.”
Bower, a senior, intends to major in mechanical engineering and hopes to continue running after high school, though he doesn’t want to sacrifice academics for a chance to run in college.
“I want to continue in college, but it’s not like I’m deciding where I’m going based on running as a whole,” Bower said. “So, I’m definitely focused on the academic aspects as well as running.”