Throughout his running career at River Hill, Chris Heydrick has raced for one thing.
After being crowned last year's Class 3A 800- and 1,600-meter state champion during both the indoor and outdoor seasons, the senior is no longer concerning himself with gaudy times or setting records. At this point, he just wants to be remembered for how he finishes.
"I really just race to win," Heydrick said, as he transitions from the cross country course to the indoor track circuit. "I know I'll be in the bigger races this year. I know if I am racing with [talented runners], that's a much better skill to develop."
Last year, Heydrick was virtually unstoppable during the winter months. He never lost a high school race in the 800 or 1,600, setting a personal best 4:17.50 mark in the latter event at the state championship meet.
That impressive showing catapulted him to state title performances in both of those individual races, as well as the 4x800-meter relay in outdoor competition.
This fall, Heydrick made good on his intentions to continue his career in college, committing to run cross country and track and Connecticut.
Things are looking up for the Hawks standout, but he's not allowing himself to get comfortable. Despite not having much more to achieve — save for faster times — Heydrick doesn't want to be complacent this season, as there will be plenty of others gunning to take him down.
"I've been waiting for this moment all year. Now it's actually time to work on track," he said. "It's hard being the one that had a successful season last year and try to make that better. I think I've added a lot of stuff to my training that I didn't do last year that I think will really help me."
River Hill coach Paul Hugus knows how important the next two seasons are to his top runner. That's why he's done his best to get Heydrick out of his comfort zone with training.
Hugus said Heydrick, never a high-mileage runner, has been able to get by on his natural ability. So Hugus mixed in longer training runs at a high-tempo pace as means of building endurance and speed.
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"I feel like he's in a really good spot," Hugus added. "The base is there. We're ready to turn the corner and do some things. We'll be ready come February and May."
Hugus hopes Heydrick can build on last year's success, not only in defending the titles he's already won, but to also put distance between himself and his competition.
"The indoor state meet was one of those eye-opening experiences for everyone that knew Chris," Hugus said. "He had some great performances, but that performance with the 1600, followed by the 800 a few hours later, was spectacular."
This year, Heydrick said he has his eyes on beating county rival David Eisenhauer (Wilde Lake), as well as Milford Mill's Jordan Leon, among others.
He's counting down the days until he's in Storrs, Conn., as a member of the Huskies program. Until then, it's about cementing his legacy among the most dominant runners to come from River Hill.