Cross Country: Monarch’s Webb realized dream with run to title

Marty Caivano/Daily Camera
Monarch’s Kirk Webb is the boys cross country runner of the year.

After adding a second consecutive Class 5A Region 3 championship to his resume, Monarch senior Kirk Webb looked ahead to state.

He knew he would have a tough challenge from Dakota Ridge’s Danny Carney, who had been considered the favorite all season.

But when the dust had settled on the state cross country course, it was Webb who came home with the title.

“At first I didn’t really believe it, because it all happened so fast,” he says.

With about 300 meters left in the race, Webb was third behind Carney, who unfortunately collapsed at that moment.

Webb went on to win the race in a time of 16 minutes, 3.84 seconds, and for his achievement he’s been named the Runner of the Year.

It took Webb a few hours for the realization of the win to set in, an accomplishment he says is still hard to describe.

“It was unbelievable,” he says. “You can’t really put into words the feeling you get from winning a state championship. It’s like all the greatest moments of your life put together I guess.”

Webb started running track his freshman year when a friend convinced him it would be a good way to stay in shape for basketball. He didn’t join the cross country team until the following fall, after falling in love with the sport and the team.

Coach Kent Rieder says Kirk is a natural leader, and served as captain this year for the boys team that went on to finish third at state.

“He’s one of those kids who leads by example, one of the hardest workers on our team, and that rubs off on everybody else,” Rieder says. “It’s been a pleasure coaching him. He’s obviously a very talented runner, extremely coachable, and his performances speak for themselves.”

Webb announced that he plans to run for the University of Pennsylvania, and aspires to participate in the NCAA championships in the future.

Webb, who placed 15th at the Nike Cross Southwest Regional meet a couple of weeks ago, says the other two other big goals he has for high school are breaking the state track records in the 800-meter run and 1600 this spring.

Webb says there’s no real magic to what he has accomplished, just dedication and a little luck.

“There’s no way to explain how I won the state championship,” he says. “You just work your hardest every day, and sometimes you come out on top.”