Dillon Maggard said the outfit he was sporting in the cross-country team’s van on the way to an awards banquet was a nice change-up to his usual athletic duds.
“We’re all dressed up pretty nice,” said Maggard, noting that he was wearing a dress shirt, grey tie and blue pants.
The 22-year-old senior Utah State University harrier, who graduated from Lake Washington High in 2014, notched all-region honors for the second straight year by placing a team-high seventh in 30 minutes, 26.4 seconds on the 10K course at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships at Utah State on Nov. 10.
The Aggies took seventh in the team standings and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA National Championships, which takes place Nov. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky. Both the Utah State men’s and women’s teams qualified for nationals for the first time in school history.
“I really like how it’s more of a team sport. When you race, you’re racing for your team and trying to finish as well as you can,” he said. “I’m trying to run for something higher than myself.”
Maggard gains motivation from his teammates and thinks about them along with his family and coaches when he’s putting in all the hard work on the course.
While running, he said: “It’s a good feeling. I guess you could say I feel free. It’s a unique feeling.”
While college runners tackle 8K races during the regular season, they dig their shoes and bodies in for the long haul on 10K courses during region and national championships. Maggard said he was trying to recover from the region championship and gear up for his second 10K in a row at nationals.
“I’m ready to roll,” said Maggard, who has put a bout of bronchitis behind him and is feeling healthy. “I’ve never worked so hard at something in my life. It takes a lot of dedication to make it to nationals.”
Last year, he finished 12th at cross-country nationals with a personal-best mark of 30:03 and he’s also participated in national indoor and outdoor track championships for Utah State.
Maggard said that strength, motivation and making a lot of sacrifices have led him along the course to success. He put in a ton of mileage last summer and noted that he runs every day.
At 8 a.m. each morning, he pops out of bed and gets running. He tries not to stay out too late and maintains a strict diet to help keep his body in tip-top shape.
Maggard was a swimmer before he took up running as a junior on the Lake Washington High track squad. As a senior, he qualified for state in the 800-meter race. Cross country came into the picture when Maggard was a senior at LW and he continues to roll along the race courses and earn accolades along the way.