By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – Keegan Masters has goals in mind for this weekend.
The sophomore runner will represent Whiteford at the Division 3 Cross Country meet at Michigan International Speedway. The course is known to put out some personal bests for runners due to the course itself and the fact that the best runners in the state are competing at a high level.
“I would like to be an all-state runner,” Masters said. “I want to run in the high 16 minutes. There are going to be many runners there, and I believe that pacing with fast competition will take me to where I want to be. My game plan is to run a very consistent fast pace, obviously.”
Masters has been the top Bobcat runner all season. He finished second at the Addison Keunner Invitational, the Blissfield Early Bird Invitational, the Whitmore Lake Invite and the Tri-County Conference championship race. He was in the top five at both the Madison and Clinton Invitational and was ninth at the Region last weekend.
Whiteford cross country coach Jay Yockey said Masters has a shot at the all-state status, which would put him among the top 30 runners in the state.
“Currently he is ranked in the top 70, and there are over 260 runners in his race,” Yockey said. “I think he has the potential to be all-state if he runs a well-executed race, which is something he’s done all season.”
Yockey has been impressed by Keegan’s consistent season.
“All season long Keegan has been like a constant machine in his training and racing,” Yockey said. “He’s been consistent, coachable, and does a lot of self-evaluation on how he is feeling and what his goals for the season have been. I’m incredibly proud of the athlete and runner he is becoming; a lot of his thinking is next level.”
His personal best this season was a 17:84.4, which he ran at the 37th annual Gabriel Richard Cross Country Invitational. He placed 18th in a large field.
“It was a very fast course along with having many people racing in it, which allowed me to pace with and catch many people,” Masters said.
Masters started running in the fifth grader at Bedford.
“I liked cross country because the premise was very simple and, at the time, as a 10-year-old, I didn’t want to try any other sport.”
Masters helped the Bobcats reach the state meet as a team a year ago. At the race he finished in 18:43.70. He is excited about the state meet. The Division 3 boys race is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
“I’m very excited for the race,” Masters said. “I believe I can reach my goals by trusting in my ability while also pushing myself to the very limit that day.”