Teens shine in cross country program
Nik O'Brien has reconfirmed his status as one of the most fleet-footed teens in Aiken County by way of his participation in North Augusta High School's cross country program.
In an Oct. 10 meet at Riverview Park, the junior took first place by a margin of almost two minutes and reset the park record in the process, covering the distance of 3.1 miles (five kilometers) in 16 minutes and 21 seconds.
He and his teammates are now in the home stretch. This week's action was to have included the Region 5-AAAA meet, to be held at Lexington High School, which has the dominant teams in boys' and girls' action this season. Following will be the mid-state meet on Oct. 27 at the Sandhill Research and Education Center in Columbia. The state meet, which is slated for Nov. 3, will also be at Sandhill.
Commenting on his approach to improving times near the end of the season, O'Brian said, "There's just really no backing down. I have a structured workout, and I pretty much stick to it. Every Sunday's a distance day. Getting in mileage is a key thing, and there are tempo runs.
"Eating right is definitely a big habit, and everything just goes into training. You've got to have a positive attitude about it. My whole motto is, as soon as running becomes a job, it becomes unenjoyable."
O'Brien's closest counterpart, among North Augusta's girls, is Hannah Williams. She led the way among her team's girls at the Oct. 10 meet, covering the distance in 26:57.