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Meet Tyler Tangel, cross country runner part of strong junior class
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Tyler Tangel is a junior cross country athlete who is part of a strong junior class. He is looking to help the Tigers compete for a region title. - photo by Rio White

A strong senior class last season left the Dawson County boys cross country team with plenty of gaps to fill, but rising junior Tyler Tangel is part of a large third-year group that is looking to maximize its potential.

So far, Tangel has experienced a productive summer practice slate alongside fellow juniors Chase Cofield, Cael Hand, Luke Lowe, and Owen Walls.

“It’s been going pretty well,” Tangel said. “It hasn’t been too hard so far; it’s just been about mileage and making sure we’re getting our endurance up before the season starts.”

One way that the team and second-year head coach Jonathan Tinsley have been keeping the team’s standards has been through the help of graduated seniors that include Ethan Smith, who has given his time and efforts to help train the next group of leaders.

Smith, who was part of the 2020 Region 7-3A champion cross country squad, has been helping Tangel and many others through his breadth of experience.

“A lot of the graduated seniors [are] always good about motivating us and keeping us going,” Tangel said. “Really glad Ethan has been here to stick with us during our runs.”

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Tangel is also a part of the track and field team, running distance races and relays. - photo by Rio White


Part of Tangel’s development as a runner has been his desire to stay focused during runs, with the knowledge that there is always an end goal and room to improve. 

While he continues to make progress on both his intrinsic motivation and run times, it helps to have a coach with the intensity and positivity of Tinsley.

“It’s all about that end goal. Once you do run that 17-minute 5K, it really makes it all worth it,” Tangel said. “[Coach Tinsley] does a good job of balancing the [ideas] of disciplining but also encouraging at the same time.”

Tangel has steadily grown to enjoy running since beginning in sixth grade, having kept track of the progress he has made in those five years. 

For him, it is the simple joy of setting personal records that gives him both satisfaction in the moment and something to build upon for the future.

Tinsley has noticed the focus with which Tangel runs and believes him to be an important leader who shows, rather than tells.

“He’s not a very vocal leader, but he leads by example,” Tinsley said. “He’s always here, he does extra, pushes himself and encourages others around him. He’s just a good leader for us.”

With the upcoming season in mind, Tangel shared what he and the other runners have been working on to get the best results.

“During the preseason it’s about working on endurance and building up the lungs and heart,” Tangel said. “When we get closer to our first race we’ll be working on speed.”

Tangel is also part of the track and field team, participating in distance races and relays. Outside of school, Tangel can be found either working out or taking care of his pet goats Brock and Chaco, whose pens he built himself.