Senior Darius Hightower breaks school cross country record

Hightower won the EKL individual championship with a time of 15:52.5


By Aide Barron- Mendez

Running ahead of everyone, senior Darius Hightower leads the way in the Mill Valley Cat Classic Thursday, Oct. 10. Hightower went on to break the school record and win the EKL championship on Thursday, Oct. 17 at JCCC.

Grace McLeod and Molly Smith

After a grueling 5K race, senior Darius Hightower crossed the finish line first with a time of 15:52.5 Thursday, Oct. 17 at EKL, hosted by JCCC. Hightower broke the previous school record of 15:59, set by Jay Matlack in 2002. 

According to Hightower, his race was successful due to his positive state of mind.

“[During the race] I was going for it and I had the confidence boost to [compete well],” Hightower said. “[Crossing the finish line] felt good; I threw up the one.”

After watching Hightower defeat the 17-year-old record, cross country coach Chris McAfee explained the observations he made attributing to Hightower’s success. 

“He’s definitely trained at another level this season he’s been way better than what he’s been doing before. He’s probably been our most focused athlete, so it’s definitely a nice payoff,” McAfee said. “Our league meets [are] always really tough with a lot of good kids in it, and not only for him to get the win but also set the school record is pretty neat.”

McAfee was not surprised at Hightower’s success since he had many advantages before the race even started. 

“He had already raced some of these guys, so I think that helps quite a bit. Know your competition, and he’s been on the [Johnson County Community College] course quite a bit,” McAfee said.  “I think he’s learned over his previous races what works best for him, so he was able to do perfectly what he wanted to do.”

Looking to the future, Hightower has two goals set for himself.

“I want to be in the 15:40s,” Hightower said. “[I also want to] win that state title.”

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