2015 Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year: Dedication pays off for Sherando’s Whiteside

Sherando's Trevor Whiteside finished 11th in the Group 4A boys cross country state meet this year, after dedicating himself more to the sport this past year. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY — Trevor Whiteside knew early in the season it could be a special year for him.

Every course the Sherando senior ran on early in the year he beat his old times by a minute. Most of that success came from being more dedicated in the offseason.

“Last year not really putting the work in during the summer and lolly gagging and it really shows me it’s a big learning experience,” Whiteside said. “Because going from last year not training as much as I should have, and then this year doing that training that I was getting and just seeing the difference in results, that’s what really stands out to me about the year.”

Whiteside, The Northern Virginia Daily’s 2015 Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, made all-state this season, finishing 11th in a time of 16:44.

For Whiteside things really got started at the end of last cross country season. He finished 21st in the Group 4A state meet last season and had a personal record time in the race.

That result showed him what he was capable of. Whiteside didn’t start running cross country until his sophomore season, and said he had always considered himself a track athlete instead of a cross country runner.

“I think he came out of that and I think that was the catalyst for the whole rest of the season — indoor and outdoor,” Sherando coach Jamie McCarty said. “He started to realize that he was capable of running with some of the better runners, and I think he took that and that’s where it kind of started to build and obviously he had a great track season.”

Whiteside finished second in the Group 4A state outdoor track meet in the 800-meter run.

Starting off strong in the early part of cross country season also helped his confidence and showed him that he could run with the top guys.

Whiteside placed sixth at the Knights Crossing meet in 16:06 early in the season. He said his goal all season was to get a sub-16 minute time.

“That’s when I started to realize that I was getting close to my goal,” Whiteside said. “I got a 16:06 that day. I was getting close, and I kept working towards it. That was definitely a day that I knew the rest of the season was going to be a lot better.”

He also won the Stonewall Jackson Invitational on Sept. 26. Whiteside was up against some quality competition in Harrisonburg’s Abraham Amine and New Kent’s Andrew Carlin and not only beat them but also set a new course record at the meet.

“Those are two really good runners, and I think he was able to kind of pull away from those guys and win that race,” McCarty said. “I think that showed him, ‘these guys are good. I know these guys are good and I can run with these guys.’ I think that’s where all of us kind of saw OK if we can get this done, I think it’s going to be special.”

Whiteside finally got his sub-16 at the Third-Battle Invitational held at Millbrook late in the regular season.

Unfortunately, Whiteside suffered a setback in between the Conference 21 West meet and the Region 4A West meet. He had tendonitis in his knee, and it affected him the rest of the season.

He said the week leading up to the state meet it was bothering him, and McCarty said they had to really cut back on his runs during the week of the state meet.

Whiteside said it was definitely bothering him in the state meet, but he was still very proud of making all-state for the first time and the season he had.

“I wanted to be with the top guys in the state, and I placed 11th at states so I was up there,” Whiteside said. “I placed a little bit better than I did last year, which I was hoping to do as well.”

Not only did Whiteside have a strong season, but so did his team. The Warriors placed third in the Group 4A state meet.

Whiteside said it was great seeing the team have so much success.

“We probably pulled off one of the best seasons in Sherando history,” Whiteside said. “…I’m pretty proud of the team. They did their best throughout the whole season, especially the postseason. They pushed all the way through. …It was just having that common goal. That’s what pushed all of us together.”

Whiteside is hoping to run both cross country and track next year for the Air Force Academy.

He has plenty to look forward to in both the indoor and outdoor track seasons for Sherando. He finished third in the state in the 1,000-meter run in indoor track season. Last year he broke the school record in the 800 in outdoor track. Whiteside said he wants to break the school record for the 1,600 in outdoor track. He said his personal record is only 6 seconds off from the school record.

McCarty said Whiteside has plenty of options for outdoor track season, and can run in anything from the 800 all the way up to the 3,200.

“I think last year at those events he proved he could run with (the top guys), and I think now you’re seeing a better stronger version of him,” McCarty said. “So if he’s able to carry that momentum through, obviously, it could be pretty special.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com