He was right! We were amazed at what he did during his season.
- When he beat the friend/teammate who he'd never been able to touch during the middle school track season. We LOVE this kid, but I think it was an important mental hurdle for Gabe and the boy was never able to beat Gabe again--though they are always close and are great for each other, as the only freshmen on the varsity team.
- Gabe's first race on the varsity team. The coach pretty much takes the guys with the top 7 times into the varsity race and Gabe was pretty excited when he realized it would be him. The team is mostly seniors with a few juniors and I know he felt worried about hanging out with them on long bus rides and at overnight invitationals. They are a great group of boys and are really kind to Gabe and he's learned a lot by working out with them.
- His 3rd race on varsity when he finished 3rd on his team, and pretty high overall. He'd mostly been coming in 7th or 8th and we were dying when he came into view and was racing in the front of the pack.
- Realizing how very mentally tough he is. He's a talented runner, physically, but he's really really good mentally. Doesn't get rattled, doesn't psych himself out and is really willing to endure the excruciating end of the race in order to finish strong. It's so cool to see.
- Hearing from his uncle (who'd done some research on athletic.net) that Gabe was the 30th fastest freshman in the COUNTRY. Yeah, he's good.
- Watching him win the Freshman race at the GSL finals.
- Coach made a decision at the end of the season to let an older kid race in the Regional meet, instead of Gabe. Gabe went as an alternate and raced in the alternate's race. We knew that the coach would take the top 7 times/boys to State and Gabe needed to PR by 15 seconds to have the 7th fastest time. It was such an exciting race and he ended up PRing by 30 seconds and actually having the 6th fastest time and earning a spot on the State team. (See...mentally tough.)
- State was a good learning experience. He had set some lofty goals and the team had a chance to be on the podium but due to a false start and a second start that really disadvantaged a key runner on our squad, everyone was off their game. Gabe and the team were dissappointed with their finish (5th in literally the fastest state in the country) but we were proud of him.
- How Gabe is everything you'd want a talented kid like this to be: humble, quiet, super hardworking, respectful of coach and teammates. Well, I'd like him to be better about texting me when he's away at meets, but other than that, we couldn't be more happy for him. (And it's pretty fun for the parent, too!)