By Liesl Greathouse

MONTROSE-At the beginning of September, Montrose High School had the honor of having a sophomore student be the highest ranking cross country runner in the state.

Ian Meek was ranked number one for the 5,000 meter race for all of Colorado.  “At first, I thought ‘oh, obviously the 5A haven’t raced yet,’ and that would affect my ranking, which turned out to be the case,” he said.  “However, after my race, I felt confident over the week because I realized ‘I’m first’, and it felt kind of nice.”

Ian has only been a cross country runner since seventh grade, but he is already showing that he is an athlete to be watched.  “I first got into running when my buddy was asked why he was not doing sports and he said, ‘I’m saving my body for track,’” he explained.  “I was a weird little kid, who was not into sports, so I said the same thing, and so I did both track and cross country running, actually thinking that they were the same thing.”

Ian’s mother, Yvonne Meek, is thrilled about Ian’s accomplishment.  “My husband and I are really excited about it,” Yvonne explained.  “Ian stumbled onto this sport a couple years ago, and as parents it makes us proud to see him find something that he is good at and that he works hard for.  As a sophomore he has great potential and every week he is learning something that will help him run better and faster.”

Ian’s favorite part of running is the people.  “At practice, I get to hang out with a great group of people, with a great attitude, so it is cool to hang out with them,” he said.  “But at meets, I am there to win, and it makes me happy when I do.”

Ian’s advice to any new runner is to keep things in perspective.  “It is a learning curve and you are always gaining experience,” he said.

Yvonne hopes that people who watch the sport will keep an eye on Ian.  “We have no idea how far he will go,” she said.  “He is a natural born runner, and he does cool things for himself and his team.  He was encouraged by seniors when he was a freshman and now he is being that encourager for younger runners as well.  He’s happy to have them running alongside him and seeing his team do great.  It is a team effort and it is exciting to watch.  We are eager to see what is ahead.”

So, for his future goals?  Ian is keeping them simple and focused solely on running.  “At the start of the season, I had the goal to do a 0:15:30, because that is a good race,” he explained.  “I got really, surprisingly, close–only 17 second slow.  Now I would absolutely love to run a sub-4:20 mile, and if I got a sub-4:10 mile I would be the happiest person the planet for about an hour, then I would start thinking, ‘I could have done better, so I’ll do better at the next race.’”

While the rankings are always changing, Ian still got to enjoy his week in the spotlight and use it to further his momentum for his sport.