Stillwater News Press

Sports

October 29, 2012

Gade caps off senior season in style

STILLWATER, Okla. — The last time a Stillwater High School cross country runner won an individual state championship, Stillwater senior Noah Gade wasn’t even born.

But as Gade crossed the finish line for the final time as a Pioneer runner, it wasn’t so much excitement as it was a relief that four years of hard work finally paid off.

“Mostly it was just a relief for me,” Gade said after Saturday’s race. “That last stretch is nerve-racking. You just want to cross and solidify it and get it over with. I was just blessed and it felt great — it’s just been awesome.”

With a time of 15:30.84, Gade became the first Stillwater High School runner to win state since Tyler Echelle did it in 1989.

“Any time you win a title, it takes a while to sink in,” Stillwater coach Dan Zeroski said. “To get to say that you’re the best runner in the state of Oklahoma is a big achievement and a big title to hold. We knew he was going to win it because we knew what type of training and what time he could run. He might not be real excited, but it will sink in eventually.”

As with any state championship, Gade had his fair share of obstacles to overcome — mostly his desire to run every race for the Pioneers. But with a special training program designed by Zeroski, Gade’s patience paid off.

“It was a little tough at first, seeing my teammates race early in the season,” Gade said. “I sort of had to be patient for races I was entered in, but it definitely paid off. I credit coach Zeroski. The training worked perfectly and it was a good thing that we did back off a little bit more with the racing in the early season.”

“He knew that he didn’t have to improve,” Zeroski said. “It was just like Oklahoma State before the Big 12 championship. They only raced twice this year before that. He understands the concept that he doesn’t have to race every weekend to keep motivated. He could do without racing to keep motivated. He had one goal in mind and he achieved that.”

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