In preparation for this past cross country season, Mark White ran 60 miles a week during the summer.
The hard work paid off for the Lakeside junior. He won four of seven events during the season, including a region championship. White is The Augusta Chronicle Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
White started off the season winning his first three meets. In September, he claimed the Augusta Prep Invitational. He recorded a time of 16:35.62 to win the meet by 20 seconds over the field. Teammate John Isaac Autry finished third. White credited Autry with helping him succeed throughout the season.
“This year,” White said, “I’ve had John Isaac Autry help push me along.”
White went on to win the Region 3-AAAAAA championship, posting a time of 16:18, besting the field by 16 seconds. White said the starting line wasn’t crowded and he was able to run his meet. Autry placed third.
In the Class AAAAAA state championship, White placed ninth with a time of 17:01.84. He was the low local finisher, checking in just ahead of Autry (11th, 17:11.74).
“It didn’t go as good as I hoped it would,” White said. “It’s just an inspiration for me to do better next year. I’ll just train harder and train smarter.”
White moved from Montgomery, Ala., to Augusta before eighth grade because of his father’s job – Stephen White is an oncologist with University Hospital. As a youth, Mark played baseball. He ran his first cross country meet in sixth grade and then began competing full-time in the sport in eighth grade.
He began running at Lakeside his freshman year. Last season, he ran behind seniors Allen Clark and Joe Way, learning from the upperclassmen.
“They were huge inspirations for me,” White said. “They taught me how to handle myself in the off-season with training tips. They were very encouraging.”
White plans to run track in the spring for Lakeside. Then, he’ll start preparing for the 2018 cross country season.
White said he plans to run cross country at the next level – Auburn is his dream school. If he can’t run at Auburn, he mentioned possibly attending Georgia or Georgia Tech. White said he wants to major in mathematics, which can lead to a smorgasbord of career options.