Columbus cross country runner Alex Salgado used a disappointing end to his track season as a junior to motivate his cross country training. The results of his efforts were noticeable and, quite frankly, hard to ignore.
Salgado ran 10 miles every day during the summer and saw his dedication pay off with a productive cross country season. The senior finished first at the Region 1-4A meet (15:14.30), first at the City Championship (15:41.60) and sixth at the Class 4A state meet (16:51.53).
As a result of his strong season, Salgado has once again been named a All-Bi-City Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
“At the end of track season last year, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” Salgado said. “That disappointment pushed me to work harder than I had been. The beginning of the season, I wasn’t getting the times that I thought I should have. I just trusted what I was doing, and eventually the times came.”
Salgado said Columbus assistant track coach Russell Jones suggested the 10-mile-a-day routine, one Salgado said he initially didn’t think would last all summer. However, one day turned into a week, which slowly turned into a month and then the whole break.
The efforts left Salgado as the fastest runner in Muscogee County and countless top-place finishes when the local schools competed at Kinnett Stadium.
“Alex is definitely a one-of-a-kind kid who you don’t get to see often,” Columbus cross country coach Danielle McCoy said. “With his work ethic, his determination and his drive, you wish you could pull a little bit from him and put into your other runners. You know no matter what the workout is, you can give him the workout and he’s going to get the job done.”
For Salgado, the state meet in Carrollton stood out the most from his final year of cross country. He said he was aiming higher than the time and the finish he ultimately walked away with, but considering the competition level, it was still something to take pride in.
“It was really the cumulation of all the hard work I’d put in,” Salgado said. “It wasn’t what I was hoping for, but it was a good result.”
With cross country now over, Salgado sets his eyes back on track. He explained he’s had a few conversations with colleges, but how he runs during Columbus’ track season will go a long way in where he goes to school.
While he’ll learn more about his options in the spring, Salgado has a pretty good idea of what he wants to see from a school.
“I’m looking for a college that views their runners as more than statistics,” Salgado said. “That’s a problem for a lot of runners going into college. Apart from that, I think really just a coach that can help me get to where I want to be time wise and effort wise.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports