Blue Springs High School senior Simon Belete’s march to the podium began only a few weeks after the completion of his sophomore season.
Tired of finishing in the middle of the pack in every cross country race, Belete figured if he wanted to get more out of his favorite sport, the training would need to become a little more rigorous. So less than a month after a 48th-place showing at the state meet in Jefferson City, Belete started running again.
He hasn’t stopped since. His work paid off: In his junior campaign, he improved from 48th to fifth at the state meet.
“He made a total commitment to doing it,” Blue Springs coach Frank Gallick said. “His workouts were harder, his focus was there. He started getting better results, and then he said, ’You know, I can do this.’ It was a snowball effect.”
Still, that junior season lacked one thing: An individual victory.
No longer is he winless.
In 2012, Belete capped a distinguished senior season by winning the Class 4 state race this fall — following up his cruise-to-victory showings at the district and sectional meets.
And now, three years after finishing outside of the top 100 runners in his class, Belete is The Star’s All-Metro boys cross country runner of the year. He finished five seconds ahead of Glendale’s Chris Mooneyham in the state event at Oak Hills Golf Course, and moments later he recapped his career.
“I’ve been working toward this for three years,” he said. “It was such a great joy. It’s a whole new experience for me winning races this year, and there’s just a rush when you cross that finish line first.
“No other experience like it.”
To reach Sam McDowell, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.
To reach Sam McDowell, send email to <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.