It turns out Wilde Lake senior Tim Virostek just needed to get back into his comfort zone.
Following a cross country season this fall that didn't yield any postseason victories and a disappointing finish in 41st place at the state meet, Virostek has literally hit the ground running this indoor track season.
In two relatively large meets during December, he reaffirmed his status as one of the county and state's best with impressive times in the 500-, 800- and 1,600-meter races. In all three races, as of Jan. 8, he boasts one of the state's fastest four times this winter.
"For me, getting back to the shorter workouts and shorter distances has really made a big difference," Virostek said. "I've always been stronger on the track ... this is my fourth season running (track), while it was only my second cross country season.
"This is where I'm most comfortable."
That comfort level was certainly on display right away at the Howard County Winterfest meet Dec. 8. Virostek earned victories in the 800 (1:58.00) and 1,600 (4:28.50), showcasing the talent that made him last year's Howard County Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
A little more than a week later, he was back at it at the Hoco Intra-County Meet, posting winning times in the 500 (1:05.66) and 800 (1:57.66) and achieving personal-best indoor times in both races along the way.
Regardless of the results during the cross country season, Virostek says he knew before the indoor season began that he had put himself in position for one of his best campaigns yet.
"It's all been building for me training-wise. Cross country, even though I didn't race well, it helped me get a really good base built up," Virostek said. "I feel as strong as I ever have right now."
Virostek says the 800 is his strongest race and will be a focus for him all season. So far this winter, however, it has been his performance in the 500 that has turned the most heads.
Having only competitively raced the 500 once before this year (last January), Virostek's time under 66 seconds at the Hoco Intra-County Meet is currently the fifth fastest in the nation according to MileSplit.us and Athletic.net.
A race that was originally thought of as a training tool for Virostek is suddenly looking like a potential area of strength.
"I was definitely a little surprised ... I've had some success in the 4x400, and I knew I could probably run well in the 500 but didn't expect that (time) right away," he said. "It's nice, though. It's showing people that I do have the speed and that I'm not just a distance runner."
Virostek says he most likely won't attempt to run three races during the postseason this winter, but he also hasn't decided which two races he will compete in. For now, though, he is focused on the mile.
The mile will be the lone race the Wildecat senior will be running Jan. 12 at the Montgomery Invitational, which features some of the elite high school runners from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia.