Taylor Snyder kicked his legs out as he walked, loosening them for a final run during the Wolfpack Invitational.
The Greenbrier junior had already competed in both the team distance events earlier in the day.
"I'm about drained," Snyder told a teammate as he prepared for the 3,200-meter.
Snyder owns the best 3,200 time in Class AAAA this season, a 10:02 he ran on March 11. The outcome of Saturday's race, then, was in little doubt.
Snyder, as he admitted, was tired, and Lakeside distance coach Ken Bowles had a good feeling about the chances of Atom Young, Snyder's closest competition.
"It should be a good race," Bowles said.
Snyder toed the line with the other runners and waited for the gun.
He likes to run out front, said Wolfpack track and field coach Kati Smallwood. She said that when Snyder began competing as a freshman, he didn't hang around the back and wait for his class to change.
Snyder took off at the bang and immediately trotted ahead of the other runners. Young kept pace.
Mike Snyder, Taylor's father, urged him from the infield to hang back.
"He wants to stay out front," Mike Snyder said. "He needs to ride Atom's wind for a while."
Taylor finally ceded some, and Young ran ahead for two laps.
Snyder turned it on for the final two laps, passing Young and pulling away to win by more than four seconds.
Snyder fell into the arms of teammates when he was done. The junior had hoped to break the school record of 9:56, but the wind and scheduling didn't cooperate, and he finished in 10:18.
"I'm a little delirious," Snyder said.
He won the event as expected and will aim for April's Taco Bell Invitational in Columbia as another opportunity to break the school's record.
The event boasts schools from all over the Southeast, and Snyder is hoping the increased level of competition will give him the boost he needs.
"That's where the record was set," he said. "That's where I hope to break it. It will help me get pushed."
Snyder has been pushing himself since he was a freshman. Smallwood said his cross country training often traversed 50 to 60 miles during the summer. He wakes up before his father does to run in the morning.
He helps his teammates push for the same.
"When he finishes (a race), he always turns around," Smallwood said.
Snyder and his dad are looking at various colleges as the son prepares for his senior year at Greenbrier.
Snyder's not sure yet where he'll end up, but he knows where he wants to be once he gets there.
"I think of myself as a frontrunner," Snyder said. "I'd never hang back."
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