Run of a kind

Shannon Beck

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Senior Kaleb Brand was one of the top cross country runners on the team this year.

“Kaleb set such a great example for the younger guys this season,” said Kory Swart, the boys cross country coach. Swart said that because of his leadership, the team will be better in the future. And he knew that he could always count on Brand to keep the team focused but still have fun. “We’re definitely going to miss him next year,” said Swart. Brand made an impact on not only his coach but also his teammates. 

“My teammates are definitely the biggest factor in why I enjoy cross county, “ Brand said, “I really enjoy the hard work ethic all of them have and camaraderie on our team. They are a big reason I have fun out there.” After a race Brand and his teammates like to give high fives to other runners and congratulate others by making them feel accomplished for what they have done. Brand’s favorite memory and biggest accomplishment was qualifying for state his junior year. “Those guys on that team were awesome people to be around.” 

Brand has always had a passion for running but it wasn’t until his sophomore year he decided to switch from playing football to running cross country. Brand’s mom, Robin Brand, has been a big impact on why he runs. Brand said, “She’s always pushed me to be better and encouraged me to run.” Brand ran his personal best this year at the West Delaware conference meet where he ran a time of 17:18. 

At the Solon districts state qualifying meet Brand ran a time of 17:25. He came in at 16th place, but unfortunately one place shy from qualifying for state individually. Even though Brand didn’t qualify, he left it all on the course for his last cross country meet. 

“One of the biggest challenges with cross country is staying mentally tough, staying positive during a race is huge and I think that can separate a good runner from a great runner,” Brand said. He knows that cross country is a tough sport to be involved in, but it’s his teammates that helped him with the challenges. “The people on the team is really what keeps me motivated and makes me feel good about a race,” Brand said. 

Brand knows that the things he has learned from running will transition into his future. He has learned how to stay focused on his goals and has also learned that he needs to be patient. Brand didn’t start his cross country season on the first day of practice, he started in the summer because he knows it takes time to get better. His advice for new runners is, “If you want to go out for cross country, it’s a lot of fun,” Brand said, “and if you want to be good at it, just work hard every day, try to get better and the results will eventually pay off.”

Paige Beck
Senior Kaleb Brand (right) and freshman Zach Fall run side-by-side at the home meet Aug. 27.

Evan Wilch
Senior Kaleb Brand running out of the shoot Sept. 5.