Austin Epstein wasn’t in any shape to run just a couple of weeks ago. Navarre’s No. 1 cross country runner injured his foot, battling a heel problem that forced him to sit out the county meet in Milton in mid-October.
“The first day I injured it I couldn’t even walk on it,” Epstein said. “I hurt it during repeats in practice. It was tough trying to get back from it but I talked with Pensacola Christian’s top runner (Timothy Christian) about it because he had the same problem.”
Epstein was told he’d heal up in time for the district meet Oct. 22 and there is no doubt he was ready to run as he won the District 2-3A championship with a time of 16:41.46. It’s the first district crown for the senior and the time was his best of this season.
“It feels great,” Epstein said. “I thought I could get into the top five. The course wasn’t fast to me. Three laps is not my digs. But I’m happy with the accomplishment.”
Epstein will compete in the regional meet this weekend along with senior teammate Christian Brothers, who placed 14th in the district meet with a personal-best time of 17:15.86 as he qualified for the regional for the first time in his high school career.
“It was definitely exciting,” Brothers said. I ran my best like I always hope to do,” Brothers said. “I’m always working to get better.”
Epstein is no stranger to advancing out of the district. He did it last year and went on to compete in the state meet. But for Brothers, it’s a new experience and he’s thrilled about having the chance to compete in the regional with Epstein.
“To get to go with a guy I’ve been striving to beat for so long is fun,” Brothers said. “When we do repeats in practice, it gets competitive. I take it easier when we are doing longer runs but I still try to stay up with him.”
Read more in the Nov. 3 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.