HEBRON — For Kyle Saul getting to state has always been a goal.
He fulfilled that goal last weekend when he competed in the 91st Annual Boys Cross Country Championships at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
Saul, a senior from Twin Valley South, turned in his third best time of the season to finish 33rd in the Boys Division III race with a time of 16 minutes, 50 seconds.
Saul is the first South boy cross country runner to advance to state since George Holman in 2010.
“I’m just glad I got here. That was the end goal. After looking at times and stuff, if I ran what I was hoping too, which would have beat the school record, I was sitting borderline making the podium,” he said.
The top 20 reached the podium.
“I didn’t run a bad race, definitely not,” he said.
Saul was 14th after the first mile in 5:01.2.
“I was feeling good at that point. I knew we were pushing fast but I was comfortable with it at that point,” he said.
At the two-mile mark he slipped to 19th and was 22nd after the 4,200-meter mark.
“Came around the two-mile (mark) and I was starting to feel it a little bit, but I thought I could have held it. With probably about 1,200 meters or so to go I knew it was not happening,” he said. “I just gave it all I could and emptied the tank.”
Saul, a three-time regional qualifier, said he will always remember this race.
“I made myself very proud that’s for sure. It will definitely be something that will always hold a place in my heart,” he said. “I just love the sport.”
South coach Richie Faber said Saul had an outstanding career and represented the program well.
“He ran a great race. Coming in we basically had two goals, try to get on the podium and try to break the school record. He attacked the first two, two and half miles like he was going to get there and looked very good. He was right on time with what I was hoping to see. Just that final mile got him a little bit,” Faber said.
“It was a great career. Definitely somebody that’s going to leave a mark. He’s definitely accomplished a heck of a lot in four years.”