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Outrunning his competition
I want to end up having to chase somebody
A-Jacob Poston pic 2
Cross country runner Jacob Poston warms up for practice at Dawson County High School. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

"Running has pretty much taken over my life."

Talk to senior cross country runner Jacob Poston for just a few minutes and it is evident.

Poston has ruffled some feathers early in the cross country season and is only just getting started.

In the first race of the year, Poston took the first spot overall in a group of 22 schools that ranged all the way up to AAAAAA classification-with little struggle.

Coach Charles Beusse said Poston "crushed the field" in one of the fastest times ever run at Chestatee High School, 16 minutes, 28 seconds.

During the second race of the year, he ended second, finishing only a few seconds behind a runner who is considered the best in the state on the AAAAAAA level.

That finish, at The Double Dip Invitational at Marist School, was also the third fastest recorded time on the course and earned Poston runner of the week honors across all classifications in the state of Georgia.

It is an honor that no Dawson County runner has ever earned before.

There were around 30 schools from four states, including what Beusse called powerhouse teams from the Atlanta area.

Poston began cross country, as many athletes have done, to condition for soccer in the off season during his sophomore year. Coach George Graves, who assists with soccer, recruited Poston.

From the time he began, however, he knew it was a fit for him.

"I was naturally really good at it as soon as I started doing it," Poston said. "That alone kept me doing it and eventually as time went on I started loving it more and more."

Once he understood how well he fit into the sport, he started focusing more on the training.

A conversation with his uncle about what makes a great runner made him realize that if he was serious, he would need to work on it year round.

So he does.

"Jacob has always been committed to running since he began, but I have seen a change over the past year and I believe he now places more emphasis on his running than ever before," Beusse said.

Not only does he run 40, 50 or more miles a week, he recently converted to a vegan diet and has seen another uptick in his stamina.

"I think my body has been able to recover faster since I have done it. I have definitely shown some improvement," Poston said. "We have results so I am going to keep on doing what I am doing."

"Jacob works hard, has a good head on his shoulders and is incredibly disciplined," Beusse said.

His aspirations for the season are simple. He wants to be the best in the state.

"Right now, I just want to get a state title. Whether it is track or cross country, I think I have a better shot at track than cross country though just because of how long I have run. I haven't been running that long."

During track season Poston runs the 800 meter and the 1600 meter, as well as the 4x400.

Though he thinks his chances are better in track, the quick start this season may prove otherwise.

For cross country runners, the training begins with distance and then moves to speed.

Poston has not yet begun his speed training so the chances he will get faster this season are great.

"I don't think I have peaked yet," he said. "We haven't gotten a lot of speed at all. Just off of distance alone, being where I am now, it's a pretty good feeling going into speed."

Beyond winning at the state level, he wants to run at a Division 1 school and get an education.

He also says Olympic hopes aren't out of the question for him at this point.

One stipulation for the school he attends is that the running program is strong and he's one of the slowest runners.

What seems at first a discrepancy is actually a competitor's mentality-he is looking for someone to chase.

"I want to end up having to chase somebody every practice to become the best I can," he said.

"It's part of my life. I couldn't give it up at all."