In the first month and a half of the 2013 cross country season, Evans’ Justin Weegar was finishing behind his county competitors.
At the end of the season, however, the junior won the Region 2-AAAAA Cross Country championship for the second consecutive year.
He followed that up a week later at the 2013 Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state championships by moving up two spots from his 2012 finish, taking third, and was named The Augusta Chronicle’s Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Weegar said he wasn’t as motivated to train during the summer and had to play catch-up during the season.
“I started out the season slower than I should have,” Weegar said. “When I realized after the first couple of races I wasn’t hitting the times I should have been, I was like, ‘Wow, I need to pick it up some,’ so I started training a little bit harder, and it ended up paying off at the end of the season at region and state.”
Weegar said he believes he might have reached one of his ultimate goals had he ramped up his training earlier.
“I think if I had prepared myself sooner I would have been even better and possibly won state and done better at Footlocker South and so on,” Weegar said.
First-year coach Lisa Chizmar was able to use Weegar as an example for Evans’ younger runners.
“They all look up to him. They all want to be Justin. They all want to beat Justin,” Chizmar said.
“What makes it easy for me is all I have to do is look at a kid and go, ‘You can do that. You can beat him if you work as hard as he works. You can catch him.’ I don’t know if that can really happen because he’s so amazing, but it’s certainly a motivator.”
With one cross country season in his high school career left, Weegar said he has a plan for the summer to get ready for 2014.
“I think there’s still 10 percent probably physical I can still work on,” Weegar said.
“My main issue is worrying about other competitors and worrying about my time, what I need to just focus on and just let all of that stuff go. I know that my body can let me do it, but it’s my mind that’s pretty much the only thing holding me back.”