Jack in Do or Die Fashion

Originally written in fall 2021*

This weekend I went to the PIAA State Cross Country Championship.  Many of our runners were there and did great.  Holden Eagle had a course personal record.  Eyoha Teshome & Mary Eagle had one of their best races of the season.

I want to highlight the person who’s been training at GHP the longest, who I’ve had the pleasure to coach even before GHP was an entity - I’m talking my undergrad years of college in the early 2010s getting my stripes coaching club track - Jack Barnhisel.  

Jack had a year in 2021 that many dream of.  After racing at the state track meet in the spring with his teammates in the 4x800m relay and the 1 mile run, he busted out a series of great 5K times over the summer leading into this senior year cross country season.  

And as a person who has been around him for the better part of 8-9 years, something changed about Jack this summer.  He hit a different stride of confidence and competitiveness that mixed with him having a great year of training, led to a pretty large senior year boost in speed.  

How much?  His XC PR for a 5K (3.1 miles) in 2020 was 16:49 and on average he ran about 17:10ish most races.  This year he PR’d at 15:58 on the trails and consistently ran about 16:20ish most races.  Many seniors only get better by a few seconds if at all.

Such a boost in ability led to tremendous momentum late in the fall.  As an athlete who has always been a “runner up” place 2-4th among his teammates all of his HS career, including the beginning of this season, he finished in decisive fashion:

  • He won the City Cross Country Championship for the first time, and was uncontested for the last mile.

  • He won the PIAA District 10 Championship.  A performance that helped his other 6 teammates qualify their team for the state championship.

  • He placed 25th at the PIAA State Championship running a PR time on the course and winning a medal.  

And in do or die fashion, Jack led the entire race of over 100 athletes for nearly the first quarter mile.

I’m very proud of this kid.  Who turns 18 next week, so we’ll see how well this email ages.  Congratulations!

And guess what?

I interviewed him on my podcast “Training Well Done”!  You can tune in and learn about this shift in his demeanor and ability from his own words.  He is good on the mic & speaks rather inspiringly.  

Have your kids give it a listen.

The show Training Well Done is on Apple, Spotify, and all the other major podcast platforms.  

Here’s a link to listen to it!

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