On September 27, the Kenston Boys Cross Country team traveled to the Wadsworth Grizzly Invitational. The Kenston team competed very well and took 8th place out of 16 teams. With new career best times from Kyle Hoehnen, who ran under 17:00 for the first time(16:55), and Connor Pinkerton. What the rest of the team and Kenston fans hadn't noticed was our second man achieved this personal record without a shoe for more than half of the race!
A little after mile 1 Connor was making his way through the course and leapt across a small ravine, while doing this a runner behind him clipped the back of his shoe with his spike and the shoe came completely off. Finishing this race with one shoe was going to be a substantial obstacle to overcome. Running with one shoe posed both physical hardships and mental. Not only did he have to push through the mental "walls" during the race, but now he had to focus on completing a race without one shoe, with each step bringing agonizing pain stepping on rocks. There were two things going through his mind. "I could either pull out of the race now, or I could keep going and toughen it out and finish a good race like my coach would want me to."
When I asked him how much pain he felt during the race he said, "With every step I took, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the foot. It was excruciating pain." When I was watching the finish of the race I saw Connor coming around the bend a little bit after Kyle as usual. Passing up Ben Foote- Huth in the last stretch, I didn't even notice he had one shoe. After everyone had completed the race we met Connor sitting down at the finish, when we noticed something was wrong. Connor explained to us what happened, and his foot was swollen two times its size. When asked how he would have performed with running the race with both shoes, he said he could have cut off at least 30 seconds. It takes guts to run a 17:37, but it takes even more guts to run a 17:37 with one shoe. Connor knows if he can beat his time with one shoe he can run a lot faster with two. I for one am excited to see what he can do this week at the CVC meet, knowing he is both physically and mentally prepared.