GALION — The fall sports season is winding down for many, but not for Galion senior Braxton Tate, who will end his high school cross country season today with his third straight trip to the State Cross Country Meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
Running in the Division II race, Tate’s final race of the season is slated to start at 2:15 p.m.
“It feels real good to give it a third shot,” Tate said. “Each season I’ve improved and I look forward to the competition.”
The improvement Tate is referring to is quite vast, to say the least. As a sophomore in 2017, Tate finished in 16:55.8, good for 57th place at state. In 2018, his time was 16:33.7, good for ninth place, and an All-Ohio nod.
But he wasn’t done yet. He set his sights this year on another trip to state, and on breaking the Galion High School record for cross country.
He accomplished both.
“Being a three-time state qualifier, while joining the All-Ohio ranks last year and setting the school record have been my top cross country accomplishments,”he said. “We’ve had some great runners in our school’s history, and to be in their company is a great honor. I can’t wait to watch the rise of new Galion High School runners that is sure to follow after I’m gone.”
In addition to his school record performances and his All-Ohio accolades, Tate has had a wonderful run within the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference. In 2017, he was runner-up in the league meet to eventual state champion Zach Kreft. Last year he finished behind a pair of runners from Shelby . This season, Tate snagged another runner-up finish, bested only by the Whippets’ Caleb Brown, who Braxton will be running alongside on Saturday in Hebron.
Brown (14:57.89), Mhalicki Bronson of Defiance (15:07.65) and Tate (15:23.59) turned in the three fastest times in the state in Division II regionals, all last week at Tiffin’s Hedges-Boyer Park.
“Each experience has given me more confidence and excitement for the next meet,” he said. “Everyone enters this race with the same expectations and wants the same thing. I just need to run my race, pray and do my best.”
After Saturday’s meet, Tate’s cross country career at Galion High School will come to an inevitable end, but that won’t stop the eager senior from remaining busy.
“I plan on competing in the Nike Regional Meet in Indiana on Nov. 16th, as well as the Foot Locker Regional Meet on Nov. 30 in Wisconsin. The goal will be to find my way to the National Championships,” he said. “After that, I’m looking forward to my senior season of track and competing at the college level.”
He is thankful for all he’s accomplished, and to those who helped make it possible.
”I wouldn’t be where I am today without my coaches, the support of my teammates/family and my mother, who has had a crucial role in getting me to this point,” he said.
He’s also confident Galion’s cross country success will continue.
”We have had a nice increase in the number of athletes across the board, from elementary to high School, and they should really continue to be strong for years to come,” he said.
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