XC News: Hargrave’s Pluenneke set for redemption
Huffman-Hargrave long distance runner Peyton Pluenneke came out of the 2018 Region 3-4A meet primed for a top 10 finish at the state meet just two weeks away.
Leading up to the biggest meet of the year, the silver medalist would come down with a massive cold that would require antibiotics. To make matters worse during the race he would lose his shoe at the half mile mark, and end up slipping and falling at the two mile mark.
"I told him after the race, you have to own your surroundings," said Hargrave cross country coach Kris Gilmore.
"As a runner in the biggest race of the year, you can't be falling and losing your shoe."
Pluenneke (pronounced Plen-a-kee) was projected as a top 10 finisher with a regional time of 16:55.80. With the fall, shoe and medication issues he would finish the race with a disappointing 89th place with a time of 17:27.83, nearly a minute off his personal best time of 16:34.80 set earlier that season.
"That was a terrible race," said Pluenneke, "I lost my shoe, then I fell down, I was sick, and then I passed out right after the race. I was really disappointing with all the work I had put in."
Redemption and making a strong statement in 2019 is the goal for Pluenneke, one of the top runners in 4A. The defending District 21-4A champion had three top finishes leading up to the regionals.
The mild mannered Pluenneke is primed to make a statement.
"My goal is to win another district title, win the region and to get a top three finish at state," said Pluenneke.
With success comes the burden of leadership.
"I want to lead by example and show the younger runners how we want this program ran," said Pluenneke.
"How we want to do things and the necessary steps to get to where we want to be."
Pluenneke's first test will be this weekend at the "Region 3 Preview" meet at Kate Barr Ross Park in Huntsville.