by Devin Hendrick, sports editor
Anish Nanjappa, a sophomore cross country runner, has been running on varsity since the summer of his eighth-grade year. Though it has only been about two years, Anish has improved his times significantly and has even broken some course records.
Anish first began running in the fall season of his sixth-grade year.
“I decided to start running because I showed potential at a young age,” Nanjappa said. “I wanted to see how I raced competitively against other people.”
Last season, Anish won the state championship alongside his teammates and he hopes to do the same this season. His best times last season were 16:19 for a 3-mile race and 16:49 for a 5k.
All of the training and hard work that Anish put in over the offseason has started to pay off. This season, he improved his times significantly, running for a time of 15:23 for a 3-mile race at Boonsboro and 16:24 for a 5k in Williamsburg.
Though Anish’s times this season are phenomenal, especially for a sophomore, he still thinks that there are some things he needs to work on. “I would like to improve my last half mile and really work on kicking stronger,” he said. “I would also like to work on pacing, running at a more constant speed throughout each race.”
Anish’s coach, Paul Hugus, has nothing but praise for him. “I am very pleased with how Anish has performed,” Hugus said. “He has placed in the top 5 in every meet this season and has even challenged for the individual title at two of them finishing a close second in both races.”
Coach Hugus doesn’t think that Anish has very much to improve on as the season winds down though. However, he does want Anish to stay focused for upcoming races. “ Like all of the athletes, he needs to keep his focus on the mental side of running,” he said. “All of the physical hard work we have done is going to show in the championship part of the season if the athletes take the right mental approach.”
In Anish’s last race at River Hill, he ran for a sophomore course record of 16:32. “I’m ecstatic about my new record,” he said. “I went out there and left it all on the course despite having no one to push me. It was a great race and I hope to keep improving to see what I can accomplish in the races to come.”
All of Anish’s friends have high praise for him as well. “He is astonishing,” said teammate Rohan Sinha. “He’s only a sophomore but I can’t wait to see what he does at the next level in college.” Teammate, Jake Downing, agreed with what Sinha had to say. “It’s crazy that he [Anish] is putting up such amazing times as a sophomore,” Downing said.
Though Anish’s race times are outstanding, his main goal is to win states again this year, going back to back.
“That is the big goal,” he said. “I’m hungry for another championship.”