Zach Stich/Daily Journal Connor Danielson (left) runs with teammates Clay Danielson and Jake Jennen in preparation for the State Class AA cross country meet held at St. Olaf College in Northfield Saturday.

Archived Story

Chasing down a goal

Published 11:30am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When you compete in a sport, everyone wants to be a champion. But few put in the hard work and dedication to get to where they want to be.

Fergus Falls’ junior Connor Danielson put forth a goal at the end of last track season; that he would train and work hard to make it to the state cross country meet. On Oct. 25, he accomplished his goal.

Danielson qualified for the 2012 Class A State Cross Country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield finishing in ninth place with a time of 17:01.

“After the race, I just had this feeling of relief,” he said. “It was my goal all summer long and to achieve it was very satisfying.”

It wasn’t a shock to his coaches, Niki Welde and Mark Kitzman, as they both said it would have been more of a surprise if the junior didn’t make it to state. “He worked hard to conquer his goal,” Welde said. “There was no luck involved as his training and work ethic were what put him at a state caliber level.”

This past summer, Danielson trained by running on average 30 miles a week, eventually reaching 60 miles by the time cross country began. During the in-season, Danielson worked hard in practice and did a light weight workout two to three times a week at the high school weight room with strength trainer Paul Ratz.

His hard work already has shown its benefits as Danielson was able to capture first place at the Central Lakes Conference meet earlier this month.

Currently, Danielson has been toning down the mileage to keep his legs fresh for state. He also focuses on speed work, running on the track against fellow teammates Clay Danielson and Jake Jennen.

“Last year, I went down to the state meet with Zach Haus and got an idea of what the course is like. We will also get a run through Friday before Saturday’s meet,” Danielson added.

In his first time down at the state meet, Danielson’s goal is to merely have a good showing at the event and to gain experience.

He has modest goals this time around, but his work ethic might yield results he doesn’t even expect.

Danielson will hit the course at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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