CHAMPAIGN — Danville senior Johnny Leverenz and his coach Todd Orvis are focused on the big picture heading down the stretch of the cross country season.
Leverenz took his first step toward the IHSA Class 2A State Meet with relatively easy victory in Saturday’s Class 2A regional meet at the University of Arborteum.
“I felt pretty solid until about a mile to go. I got a little tight, but I was able to keep going strong until the end,’’ said Leverenz, whose winning time was exactly 15 minutes over the 2.96-mile course.
Mahomet-Seymour sophomore Alex Keeble was second with a time of 15:29, but he spent most of the race more than 50 yards behind Leverenz.
“It’s good and bad to break away from the field,’’ Leverenz said. “It lets me see how I can run by myself, but I really need to be prepared for competition when I get to state.
“I came in expecting to win, but I also expected a closer race.’’
Orvis also thought that Keeble would give Leverenz a tougher race.
“Johnny like to run up front,’’ Orvis said. “I figured if he got out to a big lead that he would break everyone else.’’
And that’s exactly what happened for the IHSA Class 3A state track champion in the 800 meters, who was running the course at the Arborteum for the first-time ever.
“My goal was just to stay on course and not get distracted,’’ Leverenz said. “Thankfully, they had it marked really well, and I just had to concentrate on running my race.
“I feel really solid and I feel like I’m in a really good place. Coach has prepared me really well for these last few races.’’
According to Orvis, Leverenz hasn’t even started to taper this season.
“Nothing has changed with him as far as training,’’ Orvis said. “We will start to taper about midweek. We start that about 10 days out from the big one (state meet). When we rest him a little bit, he will be right on the money.’’