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 Monday, March 10, the 69th day of 2014. There are 296 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Numerous counterfeiters are around, taking advantage of the influx of currency to pass their worthless trash. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.J. Reimers, secretary and treasurer of the Rock Island Lumber and Manufacturing Co., on behalf of that firm, contributed $500 toward construction of a new Methodist church. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Samuel Ryerson, county recorder, was re-elected president of the 19th District of Knights of Pythias. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Three condemnation suits have been filed by the city of Rock Island to acquire property needed for an approach to the Rock Island-Davenport bridge, which has been under construction since March 6. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Plans for an eight-story Sheraton Inn in downtown Rock Island were announced today at a luncheon meeting at the Gay Nineties sponsored by the Rock Island Chamber of Commerce. Cost of the structure is estimated at $2.5 million. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Representatives of the Hardee's Golf Classic and tournament sponsor Hardee's Food Systems may meet next week with PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman to discuss a possible change in the tournament dates.