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The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

Josh Hepner shatters school record

Oliver Sage
Hepner puts his all into the last leg of the relay, putting up another good race time.

The junior long-distance runner already had success in the fall by qualifying for state in cross country, so come track season, it should come as no surprise that Josh Hepner is already breaking records. His coaches knew this might happen, but he surprised himself in his first 3k of the year. He beat the school record by more than 10 seconds. 

The original record was set by Tahir Chakisso back in 2008, when he ran a 9:05. Hepner’s time was 13 seconds faster, at 8:52. 

Going into the race, Hepner felt calm and collected, knowing that he had to just maintain a certain pace. 

“My thoughts before the race were not necessarily getting the school record, I just wanted to stay controlled and just allow myself to run,” Hepner said.

Moreover, Hepner didn’t plan on beating the school record in that first meet. 

“My goal was to beat the school record come districts,” Hepner stated.

Head coach Ryan Keene also acknowledged Hepner’s mindset before the race to stay content and relaxed.

“It was his first meet of the year, so he just wanted to get out and get comfortable,” Keene said.

After the race, Hepner was informed that he got the record but it took a while for him to realize it. 

“I immediately knew that I got the record, but it didn’t fully process because I still had one more race to go, but on the bus ride back, it was pretty hard to believe that I got it,” Hepner said. 

However, track coach Dui Bui knew right away that Hepner beat the record–and almost expected him to beat it. 

“I already knew what type of shape he was in. Every time he PRs, he’s just gonna get faster. So I wasn’t even surprised honestly, it was a given,” Bui said. 

Hepner also emphasized that this is just the beginning and that there is still progress to be made. 

“The time I got on Wednesday’s meet [March 20th] is a small step of a larger goal that I have,” Hepner said. 

Keene has worked with Hepner throughout his high school career in track and cross country. He noted Hepner’s commitment to the sport throughout the year. 

“It’s all the offseason work you gotta do, and he took that to heart, through the summer, and through cross country,” Keene said.

Bui praised Hepner for his consistency in his races and his ability to better his skills throughout his high school career.  

“Josh is someone you can depend on and is more consistent than anything, and he’s developed over time and is overall an amazing athlete,” Bui said. 

Hepner’s mindset for the rest of the year is to always look forward to districts and to know that the state and district meets are the times where he has to be his best. 

“One problem I used to have last year is I would constantly try and PR [personal record] every race, and if I didn’t, it would get to my head. If I do PR and break more records leading up to districts, I’ll be happy, but I am not gonna be mad if I am slower than I was on Wednesday,” Hepner said.

He also described the difficulty of running as a sport and how competitive it is in Oregon. 

“When running with one of the most competitive leagues in the US, it has taught me a lot about discipline and a drive for what I do. I haven’t been motivated to run every day for a long time, and I think that’s important to understand it’s never going to be easy,” Hepner said.  

Hepner is in a league of his own now for the 3k, hoping to break this school record many times as he goes on the rest of the year and into his senior year.

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Jackson Mailey, Sports Editor
Jackson Mailey (he/him) is a sophomore and his interests are sports, movies and sports cards. People describe him as funny, smart, and caring. He loves being a journalist because it can help him into the future and what he wants to do in the future.
Oliver Sage, Photographer

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