By Kris Jost
After having the opportunity & privilege to work with Kieran McDermott on just a small part of his journey through XC/Track, I hope to capture the essence of his high school career & evolution from Maryland 3A & 4A runner to success on the National level. Kieran possesses a unique ability to run with such power, speed, and grace across a wide range of "middle-distance" events (400m-5000m)! However, maximizing his FULL high school potential required patience, persistence, and creativity! His high school coach Sharon Pickett says it best ... "Once I understood who was as a runner, and what he truly enjoyed, I was able to adapt his training to enjoy his gifts. That's when I saw the biggest change in his performance and confidence." So apparently the "LOVE what you RUN" factor makes a big difference!!
Kris: If you could share WISDOM with your running peers ... what does it take to 'evolve, transcend' from a respectable, successful 'State-level' runner to a strong, competitive 'National-Elite level' runner? What daily habits, lifestyle adjustments, attitude, perspective, & mindset contribute to achieve success on the National level?"
: I wish I could say there was a formula, but it's all about finding a physical and mental balance of what works for you as an individual. My junior year I was in the best shape of my life and won States in the 800 and 1600, but I wasn't fully sure of myself and it showed in my mile race at New Balance.
This year I had a rough start to my cross country season due to a some hip and back pain. I had to refocus my energy on physical therapy, positivity, and learning how to cope with performances that were much less than my best. I think dealing with that bump in the road taught me mental toughness and I carried that into my senior track season.
Every practice and race I have tried to be focused and mentally present. I'm definitely more optimistic and confident. When I went to Penn Relays I knew what I was capable of and executed my race plan. The biggest change in me has been in my mind. I'm ready to compete at the highest level both physically and mentally.