Plano West senior Hudson Heikkinen is having a great start to the 2021 cross country. season. To some, he is a name and a face they are just being made aware of; but to others, they have known the name for some time.
Heikkinen is starting this season out as one of the state leaders and he is making it look like he has been at the top level before.
He sort of actually has been there before. Heikkinen qualified for the UIL 6A state cross country meet as a freshman when his upperclassman led Plano West team carried him to Round Rock. As a junior last year, he qualified individually, finishing 44th overall.
Although only competing in his second meet of the season, he already jumped out early by getting the win at the Marcus Coach T Invitatonal and a second place this weekend at the Garmin MileSplit TX XC Invitational.
"I feel really good, really strong aerobically."
Hudson Heikkinen - Plano West senior
Heikkinen isn't just front running and getting face time in these big meets, but he is running fast times. His winning time of 15:29 at the Coach T Inv. is almost 30 seconds faster than his previous season opening best and the 14:59.40 this weekend is not only a PR, but it ranks him as TX No. 4.
Fitness is the main reason he is starting the season off so well, "I feel really good, really strong aerobically," Heikkinen said.
Clearly, it's the early part of the season and the fitness level will continue to evolve. There are things he knows will improve and he'll sharpen before the end of the season, "I didn't really have the kick I wanted today, but that'll come along with time; more strength work and I'll have a good kick by the end of the year."
Everybody knows early season success isn't what is remembered in the end. Fast early times are irrelevant when it all boils down. "The ultimate goal is state, then NXR, and some other post season races," Heikkinen said.
It's all a process and the goals the Plano West coaching staff has, the team, and even Heikkinen himself all have are centered around late October through December.
As of now the season has started off optimistically, "This actually pretty much is a confidence booster, it feels great. It's nice to get sub 15 and a school record; i'm looking forward to keeping this momentum going."
|800 Meter Run||1:57.84|
|1600 Meter Run||4:18.09|
|3200 Meter Run||9:21.10|
|Three Mile Run||16:18.40|
|5000 Meter Run||14:59.40|