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, Dec. 6, the 340th day of 2013. There are 25 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: The street crossings on Washington and Jefferson are to be taken up immediately and underlaid with sand to raise above the level of the roadway before it freezes. 1888 -- 125 years ago: J.O. Bean, father of W.H. Bean, grocer, was accidentally thrown from his wagon near the Rock Island bridge on the Arsenal and received severe cuts and bruises on his face and body. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Sgt. Birger F. Westergard, of the United States Marine Corps, has arrived in Rock Island to take charge of the local recruiting office. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Five cases of diphtheria at Lincoln School prompt the city physician, Dr. Edward DeSilva, to urge parents to have their children immunized, as he fears epidemic. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Rock Island Arsenal will have its own newspaper with the first edition scheduled to be published Friday, Dec. 13. The paper, which will carry advertising, will be published by Bawden Bros. Inc. of Davenport. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The New Year should ring a better Quad-Cities economy, according to a survey of people in business made by First National Bank of Moline. "Based on our survey, we see a bright outlook for 1989," said Richard M. Bishop, the bank's president.