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Boys track and field: Longmont’s Connor McCormick runs way to athlete of the year honors

With two Class 4A state meet records and a silver in another, senior was in a class of his own in 2022

Connor McCormick, of Longmont High, helps ...
Daily Camera file photo
Connor McCormick, of Longmont High, helps his team finish second in the 4A 4X800 meter relay during the first day of the 2022 Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on May 19, 2022.

It was Connor McCormick’s year, and even Mother Nature seemed to have cleared a path for the Longmont senior’s greatest weekend to date back on that fateful May weekend of state track.

Having had an excellent running season filled with massive peaks and very few valleys, the delay in the meet that caused a full day off for all the athletes involved set McCormick up for three individual Class 4A races that he knew he could win.

And he darn near completed the trifecta. Having won the 3,200-meter run on Saturday, May 21 in meet record time, McCormick then had an 800 time later that afternoon most would be jealous of — though it wasn’t enough to overthrow Niwot’s Zane Bergen that particular time.

However, having returned to the track on a rare prep-filled Sunday and going on to win the 1,600 (he had also helped the Longmont boys 3,200 relay capture silver the prior Thursday), McCormick completed one of the state’s best meets. As a result, McCormick is the boys track athlete of the year.

“Definitely some ups and downs, but overall we were training really hard so any of my struggles came through maybe like not being able to recover fast enough through training hard,” McCormick said Tuesday night, right after a 10-day-out training for the upcoming Nike Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, Oregon where he’ll run the mile. “But we had a two-week taper towards the end of the year and that just got me right for state.

“I thought (the delay at state) was preferable, honestly. I ran that 4×8 on Thursday, and having Friday off allowed me to recuperate and give me a little bit of time going into the 3,200 and 800. I was not upset about that at all.”

Having not qualified for any state events as a freshman, and then having the 2020 season canceled, McCormick still ended up a seven-time track medalist. He had three runner-up runs as a junior (one relay), and after a somewhat disappointing cross country final came back with unabated effort for his final days as a high schooler.

The boys 3,200 relay, comprised of McCormick as the anchor, Andreas O’Malley, Dominic Warner and Miles Miller, started the Trojans’ meet off with a bang as they kept pace with Cheyenne Mountain all the way to the finish and turned in a time of 7 minutes, 52.34 seconds. Only the Red-Tailed Hawks and Cherokee Trail (in 5A) were faster all season.

Then, a breather. The state meet saw the Friday schedule pushed to Saturday afternoon/evening, allowing McCormick to gear up for the 3,200. The weather kept cool during the day, and it was to McCormick’s liking as he put in an all-classification season best of 9:03.83 — nabbing a state meet record in the process.

Though he would call the 800 a downer, he still finished in 1:54.05 — he and Bergen each were about two seconds off their best pace in the event.

Another silver to a Bergen gold was not going to be good enough for McCormick when it came time for Sunday’s 1,600. Seeing his buddy from Niwot lead for most of the race, McCormick stormed back to take first as both ran record times — McCormick again finished with a Colorado season-best 4:06.97.

“(The 3,200 finish) gave me a lot of confidence, just knowing that 4A distance might be one of the country’s best conferences and being able to come out on top in this race just proved to myself that I could compete with these boys and give them a run for their money later on in the meet, too,” he said. “Even if I didn’t have the best 800, I can’t be upset with any of them.”

With McCormick’s 36 state points, Caleb Johnson’s 20 and a host of other contributions from the likes of O’Malley and Warner, the Trojans pulled away for the team championship in 4A. For McCormick, it was the ultimate going-out party.

“Definitely going into state, the main goal was the boys team title more than any individual title but even the individual titles, it’s a great experience seeing all your hard work pay off,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for better teammates. They really pushed me all season and I’m so happy with how all of them did at state, too.”