Kirk Webb isn't quite running the times he did as a senior at Monarch last spring. But that doesn't mean he isn't winning college meets.
Webb, now a freshman at Penn, won his first college race Friday night at the Armory in New York, N.Y. He finished his signature event, the 800-meter run, in 1:56.18, which was a far cry from the Colorado high school state record of 1:51.75 he produced for the Coyotes in May.
But cut him some slack. It's early. It's indoor season. Outdoor season doesn't start for a few more months. And he was coming off a 2:01 in the event, a time he declared his worst since his freshman year of high school.
"I'd been running a lot slower than I wanted to," Webb said. "The 2:01 was pretty abysmal for me. I was really concerned about that. But coach (Robin Martin) kept convincing me that I'm working really hard and that the times are going to come.
"Just last week, things started to get better. My coach tells me I'm going to have a PR by the end of the indoor season, so we'll see if that plays out."
Webb didn't run for the Quakers' cross country team in the fall, instead electing to concentrate on indoor and outdoor track. Indoor season is roughly January to March with outdoor season following in the spring.
Things have played out incrementally for Webb, who hasn't had to deal with a stunning changeover from the high school to the college ranks.
"The coaches have been really good with the transition," Webb said. "We ran our first couple meets against some low-level teams, some smaller schools, Division-III teams, and a lot of the guys weren't very intimidating. As our team is getting into better shape, we're starting to amp up our competition."
Webb remained in Colorado well into August so he could continue to train at altitude, a philosophy that paid dividends.
"The first, maybe, three weeks down at sea level, it made a big difference," Webb said. "It really helped with the transition to the higher mileage and the more intense workouts. But, just as your body acclimates to a higher altitude, it acclimates to a lower altitude. So, right now, I don't think I have as much of an advantage."
Webb came home over the holiday break and said running at elevation "hurt a little bit" but he plans to continue to train at altitude during his breaks.
Because Webb is focusing solely on indoor and outdoor track this season, he did not partake in his first official meets with the Quakers until this month. He hasn't ruled out participating in cross country in the future.
"I didn't run cross country because, this year, I couldn't contribute," Webb said. "I feel like 5K is as far as my body is going to let me race and 8K is a completely different story.
"So this year I'm just concentrating on indoor and outdoor track. And next year, if I'm strong enough to contribute to the team in the 8K, then obviously I'll be racing with the team."
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