Brock Wooderson admits that he was a bit spoiled as a freshman when he was part of the first Blue Springs High School state championship team two years ago.

Coach Frank Gallick’s Wildcats had come close in the past, but not quite reached the top podium at the state championship.

“But that all changed when I was a freshman and Victor (Mugeche) and Gabe (McClain) and all our great runners won state and I was part of it – even though I finished like 100 and something and didn’t really contribute.

“Because of my teammates I saw what it took to be a champion and I dedicated myself to cross country. I wanted to be remembered as a guy who made a difference on the Blue Springs cross country team.”

And Gallick said that was not an empty promise.

“I knew what Brock could do – we all knew what Brock could do – if he just applied himself,” Gallick said, “and all his hard work and dedication paid off this season.

“I saw it at the first couple of practices. I was like, ‘Where has this runner been the past two years?’ He was like a new runner. As a freshman and sophomore, he had the talent, but he just didn’t have the discipline necessary to be an elite runner.

“He has that discipline and he is an elite runner and we have him for another year, and I can’t wait to see what he does next year!”

Wooderson won his first race his junior year, was second at the Suburban Big Six Championships (16 minutes, 1.4 seconds), Class 4 District 7 meet (15:42.8) and the Class 4 sectional (16:19.2) and then earned his first all-state medal, finishing 18th (15:53.5) in the Class 4 state meet at the new Gans Creek course in Columbia, Mo.

For those accomplishments, he has earned The Examiner’s 2019 Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year honor.

“We’ve had a lot of our runners win your award,” Gallick said. “It goes back to Simon Belete, then Stephen Mugeche and his brother Victor and last year, Gabe (McClain) – all great runners who fully dedicated themselves to our program. And Brock deserves to be in that group for what he did this year. I’m really proud of him.”

Wooderson was thrilled, and a bit surprised to learn that he had joined the elite class of his former teammates and past Wildcat greats.

“This is such an honor,” Wooderson said. “When we won state, I don’t even remember where I finished, it was so high. Last year I was 135th at state and I rededicated myself to the sport of running cross country.

“I didn’t go into this year thinking about winning your runner of the year award, but I did want to do well at conference, district and sectionals and I wanted to medal at state – that was very important to me.”

Wooderson credited his teammates and Gallick for helping him move up to all-state status. He hopes to exceed this season in the spring and next fall.

“I had the support of my teammates and our great coaching staff,” Wooderson said. “I can’t say enough good things about Coach Gallick and how he has helped me and pushed me to be the best runner I can be.

“I can’t wait to see what happens next year. I’m already preparing for track this year and next year’s cross country season. I’m hoping the best is still out there for me to achieve.”