In athletics, there are very few real iron men and possibly even less in cross country. However, for a while Alex Maier began to seem like the invincible, unstoppable, and one of the most consistent runners there are.
Without Sam Worley or Reed Brown around this year, many had already crowned Maier as the 6A champion since the beginning of the season. Who in their right mind would bet against him? I mean, he had gone undefeated all season until now.
After a long 2016 season, Maier and the Flower Mound coaching staff were very selective of when and where to run this season. All things were set up for a state meet and postseason run that would hopefully wind up with at state individual and team title as well as a national championship or two.
When Maier and his Flower Mound team lined up in Round Rock, it was almost a given that this would be the day he would win his first state title and the race would really be for second place.
Things did not go that way. Maier started the race, but he did not finish. And oh boy did that spark a buzz that traveled around the course and honestly throughout the state. Nonstop calls and texts were going out and coming in with everyone wanting to know what happened to Maier.
Approximately a mile into the race, Maier was leading and according to eye witnesses on the course he was beginning to generate a lead and appeared that he was ready to take off. Per eye witnesses, that is when Maier pulled over to the side of the course and put his hand on his chest.
That was the end of the race for Maier, and ended up being the end of the title chase for Flower Mound.
Unconfirmed reports are that Maier had been sick or not feeling well for several days and physically unable to finish a couple of workouts in that timeframe. The word is that he had been battling an upper-respiratory issue.
So why risk his possibility of winning an individual national title or two (for which he has been one of the favorites for all season) by running at the state meet if you might not be in good enough health to finish the race? If you know Alex Maier and his mindset, then you know there wasn't even a question about it. He had a goal set on winning the individual state title all season, but more importantly his desire to win a 6A team title with his Flower Mound team was even bigger. There was nobody that was going to stop him from lining up with his team and there definitely was no way he would not have finished the race unless he absolutely was unable to.
So what does this mean for Maier moving forward?
If Maier is not physically okay to continue with the rest of the season, then he'll probably rest and recover until he is cleared to return to training and competition.
If he regains his health by Nike South Regionals or the Foot Locker South Regional, then expect to see him return as the same Alex Maier or perhaps even more determined. He didn't win state last year either and he still managed to have one of the most successful post seasons of anyone.
As for an individual and team state title -- he is only a junior and there is next year. He could potentially be even better and his Flower Mound team could be even better next year.
This is for sure, I wish the best for him and I'll never bet against him!