Boys’ Cross Country Peak Performer of the Year: Chandler Wilburn reaches career-long dreams in title run | High School Sports


Chandler Wilburn watched his seniors in awe when he first started running at the Classics Academy as a freshman in 2019.

“I want to be like them when I’m their age,” he said.

Fast forward and the sleeves of Senior’s TCA Titans Letterman Jacket are adorned with patches and accolades from the school’s many trips to state championships in cross-country and track and field. wearing trainers. Designed by Wilburn, who was involved in the student council and class president, this year’s seniors have something a little special.

Now the underclassmen have their eyes on him. That’s how Classic his Academy works.

“The program has been very successful because it has brought in talented and hard working people who have inspired and replaced the children who came after them. “(My legacy) will be shaped in some way by what the team will look like next year, two years from now, three years from now, and what the seniors in two years from now will learn from me as much as I did.” I really hope that it will be characterized by ” By what my senior taught me when I was in the first year.”

Wilburn, this year’s peak men’s cross-country performer, won the 3A state championship in the men’s 5,000m with a time of 15:46.3. He was one of his four Titans to enter the top 20 and brought the team his eighth title to the school since 2004.

Carrying a TCA torch is no easy task. Wilburn’s personal victory is the result of constant improvement that this veteran his runner has sought himself.

Running is a year-round pastime for him, including the cross-country season in the fall and athletics in the spring. Even in the offseason this year, Wilburn has found time to run about 70 miles in his nine runs a week.

During this school year, Wilburn’s alarm went off at 4:30 am and he got up early.

Despite spending countless hours running, running isn’t always fun. But the opportunity to block out the noise of life and push yourself is invaluable.

“Daily improvement is so fulfilling. It also gives me space to think without distractions. If a day goes wrong, things hit a wall, whatever it is, then I’ll be doing well for a few days.” I don’t know why I didn’t, to run and have space to clear my head…and nothing was pressing me down in that moment,” he said. “Having time to really focus on my thoughts and not get distracted and just have time to pray is very precious to me.”

One of the things you immediately notice when talking to Wilburn is his eloquence. Despite seemingly no effort, he answers the questions asked of him with a certain degree of coolness, thoughtfulness, and insight.


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It’s one of the first things coach Matt Norton noticed about him when he met him as a freshman.

“As a 14-15 year old freshman, his confidence and ability to interact and talk to people was truly unique,” said Norton. “So when I think of Chandler, I think about it….Everything he does.He’s one of our top students.He’s involved in every activity here at school.” He was the student council president and he was the leader of our cross.He was on the country team for the four years he’s been here. Combined with his talent, he would be a state champion.”

Wilburn’s heart is one reason he’s headed to the Colorado School of Mines to run and study next fall. He plans to study engineering physics for his undergraduate degree and quantum engineering for his master’s program.

“I applied to one school and it was Mines,” Wilburn said with a laugh. “That’s what my sights have been on forever.”

Wilburn only needed one try to get into the college of his choice, but he needed many more to win individual state titles.

She was 25th in her freshman year, 17th in her sophomore year, and 4th last year. Then something changed. As a track and field junior this spring, Wilburn was having one of his worst seasons in running. he was flat. Perhaps it was spread out a little too much across the events he ran, giving average results.

One day Norton called him into his office and gave him some advice. He was too focused on his time and just winning races wasn’t enough.

“He’s always Mr. Positive, someone who always provides energy to everyone, so it’s hard to balance that with his own personal disappointments,” Norton said. I think what allowed me to switch was realizing he was one of the guys I was chasing and when you’re racing the clock it’s like you don’t really know where you are We need the ability of those people and the time to justify it.”

Norton tells Wilburn that he has the same ability as the runners he is up against and that he is one of the best runners and he needs to get out and run regardless of the time. rice field.


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Messaging worked. He set his personal record in the next race and in the provinces that season he placed his second in the 3200m, 1600m and 800m. His 2nd place finish was somewhat bittersweet for a competitor like Wilburn, but the value he put in his points turning and junior his tracks is undeniable. was.

“It was a tough race, but a great performance,” said Wilburn. “I was seeded well in all of them, but to be able to compete well in all three distance events like that was definitely something I was very proud of and where did that come from? ?Average, but I’m learning from it.”

As Wilburn’s cross-country victory shows, the lessons were not in vain. Now the senior doesn’t know he’s stepping forward into his season on the senior track and being one of the best players in his school and state.





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