Let down. Overlooked. Disrespected.
That's how I feel I treated Jarrett Kirk.
I submitted my choices and picks who I believed was going to win at NXR South. In all honesty, I picked Kirk to win the boys race two weeks ago. Then, I slept on it and allowed doubt and disbelief to enter my mind. When I awoke and went over things again, I changed my picks.
I didn't just move my initial pick down a spot -- not even two spots. I bumped him down to the six spot.
Initially, I wanted something bold. I wanted something that wasn't at the front of people's minds. That someone was Kirk.
However, the same reasons I initially selected him as my top pick, were the reasons I ended up allowing myself to over think things. Overall, they are the same reasons I feel like I let him down, overlooked him, and disrespected him.
We are talking about the 2017 UIL 6A state champion. The same young man who has beaten just about everyone in the race including the changes I moved ahead of him. I chose against the same guy who just won the Nike South Invitational on the same course a little over a month prior.
No, Kirk was not able to pull off winning another state title. No, he didn't win regionals or even his own district meet for that fact.
What he did do was compete. In each of his last three races, he ran at a high level with two sub 15:00 runs. He was the same young man who put in the work to move from Flower Mound's JV to the varsity team. He was the same guy who competed so at such a high level, eventually becoming the state champion in the biggest division of the best state in the country in just one year of time.
Kirk showed me. He showed us all as he went on to win the South Region. This weekend, Kirk will be one of several favorites heading into Portland. He took down one the best fields assembled in the South this year beating nine state champions who were in the South race.
There is only one thing left for Kirk to do and that is win a national title. It's the only thing bigger than what he has already accomplished in his career.
Last year, he ran with his Flower Mound team, which earned himself the experience of the meet, the course, and of the entire NXN weekend show. This year, he will look to improve on his 53rd place finish and hopefully climb
Really, what is standing in his way? Let's throw out the weather and course conditions that he may face in Portland. After this season, what hasn't he seen by now?
Earlier this season Kirk compete in two of the more difficult races he'll ever compete in for some time. The conditions at the Southlake Carroll Invitational and the Coppell Invitational were so tough, there can't possibly be much more challenging conditions.
Jarrett Kirk has proven he is elite and that he is without a doubt a winner. He has a chance at an NXN title. Hopefully, you've learned not to continue overlooking or underestimating him. I have!