Ben Savage’s work ethic might be the most powerful weapon in his arsenal this cross country season. The Morgan Township sophomore has some big goals on his agenda for this fall, and coach Mike Grennes has no doubt that Savage’s hard work can take his competitiveness to the next level.
“He runs more miles than anybody on the team,” Grennes said. “If we do four or five different workouts, he’ll do six. He just does more than everybody else, so it’s a great example for everyone to see. He has made big advances with how hard he’s been working.”
Though last year was his debut season, it didn’t take long for Savage to get comfortable. He clinched an eighth-place finish and recorded a personal best of 16:07 at last year’s New Prairie Regional, in addition to claiming third at the New Prairie Invitational.
“I just try to always be the first one at practice,” Savage said, “and I try to keep a good pace. So far we’ve been trying to put a lot of mileage in before we start hitting tempo workouts.”
With the graduation of Alec Kostelnik, Savage will rise to the top spot on the Cherokees roster this season.
“He is becoming more mature and more educated about how he runs races,” Grennes said, “He’s going from being a freshman to being a sophomore, and he learned a ton during his freshman year – and you can tell just by listening to him talk about what his goals are.”
Among Savage’s goals for his high school athletics career include competing at the IHSAA state meet, running in the Nike and Foot Locker national races, and excelling in track and field.
“I would love to go to Terre Haute while in high school and be on the podium a couple of times,” Savage said. “And if it’s God’s plan I would like to run in college someday. But I’m taking baby steps.”
Savage plans to invest the same hard work into his school work as he does in his running shape.
“There’s a lot more to running than just running,” Savage said, “especially in the classroom because I like to do all my work early and do it well because then I can come to practice and run, and it helps me relax. I try to put my school work first and then that way I have pretty good meets and practices. I try to mainly be a student athlete.”
With three more years left to compete, Savage’s age might be as valuable to his success as his work ethic. He has big goals for himself and for his team, but says he’s going to accomplish them by simply taking baby steps.
“Taking baby steps teaches me to be patient,” Savage said. “This year I’m trying to be realistic and basically just work hard and put God in front of me - he’ll lead me the whole way.”