Andover senior Chris Meados, one of the top distance runners in Minnesota, is also a fan of his peers.
Many of them competed in the 3,200-meter race last spring at the Class 2A track and field meet. Unable to join them on the track after finishing third in the event in the Section 7 meet, Meados watched with awe as the top three finishers went under the 9-minute mark and eclipsed the previous state meet record.
“In my opinion, that race was the best showing of athleticism I’ve ever seen, even in the Olympics,” Meados said. “I counted the results on the Internet, and Minnesota had seven of the top 100 two-milers in the entire nation. It was remarkable.”
Meados plans to join the likes of Richfield’s Obsa Ali, Stillwater’s Eli Krahn and Chaska’s Joey Duerr this fall on the podium as one of the top 10 finishers at the state cross-country meet.
Meados, ranked 10th in the coaches’ poll, spoke to Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about solidifying his place among the state’s best runners this fall.
Q: You won the Cambridge-Isanti Invitational last week. But other than winning, what else do you hope to get out of early-season meets?
A: I went out there just hoping to have fun because I obviously want to do the best I can. But I’m trying to make it as less stressful as I possibly can because school work is really taxing this year. It was a fun race. But I started to get a sideache midway through and it really hurt a lot. The other guys in the race were right on my tail at the end of the race and I commend them for that.
Q: Your team took third, one spot behind Northwest Suburban Conference rival Centennial but ahead of Class 2A, Section 7 teams such as Chisago Lakes and Duluth East. That had to have felt good.
A: We showed really well as a team and some of our guys did really well. Simeon Toronto put it all out there. At the end of the race we had to help him up to stand. It was amazing to see.
Q: You mentioned school is much more difficult this year. What sort of class load are you managing?
A: Every single class I am taking is advanced placement curriculum.
Q: Was taking 15th at the state cross-country meet last fall the ending you wanted?
A: Going into the state meet my goal actually was to finish top 15, so I was really happy with that. The one bummer I had in that race was not beating Jake Jankowski from Forest Lake. We had an ongoing rivalry throughout the cross-country and track seasons. Unfortunately, he beat me by about three seconds. But I ran a personal best by a good five seconds so it was great.
Q: Where did you set the bar for yourself this fall?
A: Right now I’m ranked 10th and, looking at the field, I think it’s realistic to say that I can’t win the state meet. But I think from sixth place to 10th place is kind of a tossup. My ultimate goal is to finish top 10 and get on the podium.
Q: In what did you step up your training this summer to reach your goal?
A: I have been putting in some of the longest runs I’ve ever done. I don’t run for miles, I run for time. And this summer I was pushing 70 or 80 minutes and that’s as far as I’ve ever gone. I would roller blade, weightlifting, cross training — anything I could do to keep working out without the high impact of running. None of this is new but I definitely increased my workload.