Van Straten running for success

Published 12:42 am Saturday, October 12, 2019

King’s Fork High School senior Jack Van Straten was voted the Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week after a strong performance in a Southeastern District cross country meet.

As Van Straten moves to the latter part of his senior year of cross country, he is starting to peak at the right time. Last week in a weekly Southeastern District meet, Van Straten ran a time of 18:18 and took sixth place out of 120 runners for the meet. His finish was the highest finish and fastest time for a Suffolk Public Schools runner this season. It was a training run for Van Straten to make sure he was on pace with time and close to what he’d like to be peaking at before the regional races.

“I was pleased with where I placed,” Van Straten said. “I’m trusting my coach’s training plan, and our goal is for me to peak in the next two to three meets. This will put me in a good position to be able to compete at states.”

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Competing in the boys’ Class 4 state meet is a big goal the senior has set to accomplish this year. He also wanted to improve each of his times in the invitational meets that King’s Fork competes in, and he has done that thus far. He followed up his district meet performance with an all-time best clocking of 17:37 at the Airfield Invitational, where he placed 10th.

“My main goal was to make it to states,” he said. “I also wanted to improve my times in invitationals we competed in starting mid-season, and I’m positioned to achieve that. This season will propel me into a successful indoor track season and hopefully a good track showing again in indoor track.”

During the summer and the offseason, Van Straten increased his weekly mileage and was running about 55 miles per week. He also did a lot of core work and upper body strength training. His work ethic holds true to what his coaches see from him daily as an individual runner and as a teammate.

“Jack takes his workouts and races seriously, but is a great, understanding teammate who will pay attention to the needs of others,” Bulldogs Coach Steve Sheppard said. “He is willing to help his teammates however he can. He paced a couple teammates in a race lately, to help them set new personal bests. He is our team captain this season. He is doing an excellent job, and it’s no surprise that our team synergy is at an all-time high.”

Van Straten has always been motivated by the goal of becoming a better runner each and every day. He always wants to be at the best of his abilities, and the sport of cross country pushes him to do so. There’s more to the sport than just running, and Van Straten always makes sure he is strengthening his body and his brain with cross country being such a mental sport as well.