United Township junior runner Austin Webster is known by his teammates as "Little Webster," but during crunch time, he provided his biggest performances.
Webster propelled himself to the top, winning the Western Big 6 Conference and Class 2A Galesburg Regional titles.
At the state meet, he finished in 19th place with an impressive time of 14:55.
With one more season still on the horizon, "Little Webster" is thinking that big things are still ahead. Adding to the excitement is being named the Metro Boys' Runner of the Year for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.
Here's what Webster, whose older brother Cody was a decorated runner before graduating two years ago, had to say about the award.
What was the biggest surprise for you this season? "Winning Western Big 6, regionals and almost winning sectionals. Getting down to 14:55 at state was huge for me. I hope to continue to improve next year."
What was the highlight of your season? "At regionals, (UT teammate) Tyler (Rasso) and I got to race out ahead of the pack and see who would come away with the regional title. It was fun because there was nobody with us, and it was fun to race with my teammate and best friend."
What are the team's goals next season as a talented junior class comes back for a senior season? "Tyler and I are looking to lead our team to even high expectations next season. It's our senior season, and we are looking to do something big."
What do you love about the sport? "I love the distance. I can go long distance and not many people can do that. When people can run that far, you want to show your speed and talent over that distance."
Who will be leading the pack for the Panthers next season? "Hopefully, it will be both Tyler and I. But I have set goals for myself to do the same thing my brother Cody did during his senior season. He kept lowering his times."
What was it like to get All-State honors this season? "It was the biggest moment of my life. Last year, I didn't do so hot, finishing 47th. To get 19th was a big accomplishment for me, and to break 15 minutes was a huge accomplishment for me. Next season, I'm looking to finish top 10 and finish with a 14:30."
Moment that you will never forget? "State. Getting a medal at state and standing up with the big dogs."
Today is Thursday, April 17, the 107th day of 2014. There are 258 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Journeymen shoemakers of Rock Island struck for higher wages yesterday morning, asking 25 percent increases. Employers have acceded to their demand. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Lighting struck wires of the Merchants Electric Light Co. during a furious storm, and many Rock Island business houses were compelled to resort to gas as a means of illumination. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, decided to erect a new edifice at a cost of about $60,000. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Willard Anderson, junior forward for the Augustana College basketball team, which won 17 out of 22 contests, was elected captain of the quintet. 1964 -- 50 years ago: John Hoffman, Moline, president of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts, will be honored for his 50 years in scouting by members of the council at a dinner Thursday evening. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Quad-Cities has what is believed to be the area's first elite-class gymnast. It's the stuff upon which Olympic competitors are made. Tiffany Chapman, of Rock Island, not only has earned the highest possible gymnast ranking, she won the honor at age 11.