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 Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.