Thursday, May 21, 2009

COM: Hogan Campbell makes a choice

i had the honor of filming Hogan Campbell's specch for his graduation on Friday (not Saturday as the article says) . . . great speaker, great runner, great kid

Grad to be running

John Turner, The Daily Times, Published May 19, 2009

INGRAM — Heart racing, lungs burning, legs straining — this is Hogan Campbell’s idea of fun, and he wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Or his high school graduation.

“It’s just part of who I am — it’s what I wake up for,” Campbell, an Ingram Tom Moore senior, said of his dedication to distance running. “Everything I do is to perform well in this sport.”

So when the rescheduled Region I-3A track meet conflicted with Tom Moore’s commencement, well, the cap and gown never stood a chance.

“Just racing is worth missing graduation,” said Campbell, who will have his salutatorian speech taped today to be played at Saturday’s ceremony. “[Graduation’s] important, school’s important, but there’s nothing I need to complete. Running — this is what I need to complete.”

When Campbell says he wakes up thinking about running, he doesn’t mean to be cliché, just honest. The track is exactly where Campbell feels he needs to be. The challenge, the dedication, the pain — that’s how he can express himself.

“To me, it [running] means commitment, it means everything,” Campbell said. “I’d much rather go running than do anything else. That’s what my day revolves around.”

Ingram distance coach Debbie Lozano has seen the hard work pay off for Campbell, who will compete this weekend in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at the Region I-3A meet at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The devotion to running is a testament to his competitive drive, which Lozano says is his strongest attribute.

“He likes the fact that it’s tough and that it’s not something easy,” Lozano said. “I’ve never seen Hogan choose anything that’s the shoe-in. He works hard every practice and is the type of kid that wants to be challenged — not only physically, but mentally.”

The mental aspect has been a point of emphasis for Campbell, who has made his most valuable on-track strides in his mindset.

“You really have to work with your mind,” Campbell said. “This year it’s mainly a mental game. When you hit that feeling where you think you can’t go anymore and you go numb — it feels so great. That’s when you really start to hit your own.”

More specifically, Campbell has learned the value of patience and what it can do for a talented runner.

“Mainly, a race is waiting — waiting the entire race for a point when you see a moment and you’ve got to take it,” he said.

This lesson was best exemplified in the 3,200-meter race at last month’s District 8-3A meet. While Lozano was busy worrying about Campbell’s start, the savvy cross country runner was simply waiting until the time was right to attack.

“He had his coach a little worried, because he was not where I thought he should be,” Lozano said. “One of the other coaches further down the track said later, ‘Oh, he was just playing with [another runner], he had a smile on his face when he went by.’

“I finally said I’m about to have a heart attack, let’s go, and he kicked it into high gear.”

Campbell finished the race with a time of 10:09, a personal record and the third best time in the region. Coupled with a time of 4:38 in the 1,600-meter run, Lozano feels ITM’s track star could be destined for a time worthy of the state meet in Austin.

“I firmly believe that if he can have another race like he had in district, he’ll break 10 [minutes],” Lozano said. “That’s our hope, and that’s his goal.”

But Campbell won’t be thinking about numbers, state meets or graduation ceremonies this weekend on the Red Raiders’ track. He’ll focus on what he always does — “Just having fun,” as Campbell said. “That’s all I try to do when I run.”

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