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Cross Country: Speedy transformation – Last year’s region run spurs senior to best season

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, October 24, 2015
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Last year on the regional course at Lynn Creek Park, Joseph Eisen underwent a transformation.

Charged up to be on the regional stage, Eisen broke his previous personal best time by 40 seconds and improved his time from district by more than four minutes.

RUNNING FOR STATE SPOT – Paradise’s Joseph Eisen took second at the 9-3A championships last week. He will try to earn a state bid Monday, running in the 3A Region II race at Grand Prairie’s Lynn Creek Park. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

“I was fourth on the team most of the year,” Eisen recalled. “I ran like crazy there and it made me want to work a lot harder.”

The experience drove Eisen to become Paradise’s top runner throughout his senior campaign and has him headed back to Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie Monday for the Class 3A Region II race. Eisen, who finished second at the 9-3A championships last week, will run at 2 p.m.

“It’s been a fun year,” Eisen said. “I’m looking forward to running there again. I ran a 17:28 there a month ago.”

Eisen started running cross country in junior high to get in shape for basketball.

“I wasn’t very good at it but I stuck with it,” Eisen said.

On a team with several seniors last year, he ran fourth for the Panthers. His best finish before regionals was 15th. He turned in an 18:38 just before the district meet at Graham.

At district, Eisen admittedly didn’t have his best day, running 22:13 and finishing 40th.

“I finished seventh from last. If I’d ran good we probably would’ve won district,” Eisen said.

But he made up for it a week later with his best time, taking 33rd at regionals. Paradise fell short of advancing but Eisen left Grand Prairie with a new outlook and dedication to running.

From the start of the season in the summer, Eisen put in extra miles and workouts.

“On Sundays, I’d get a long distance run of five to seven miles in,” he said. “You get what you put in.”

The extra work quickly showed. He ran a 17:38 in the three-mile race at Keene in the second event of the season. On Sept. 26, he turned in a 17:18 at the Holliday Invitational.

“He’s had a great year,” said Paradise coach Ken Thompson. “It’s been fun to watch. He’s improved every meet we’ve had.”

At the 9-3A championships, Eisen ran his best race of the year. He blazed his way around the same course he struggled at last year in Wichita Falls, finishing in 17:02 for second place.

“I just took off and gave it all that I have,” Eisen said.

Eisen advanced to regionals as an individual.

“I’m going to miss not having my team around. They made it fun,” he said.

But he’s focused on a new goal of qualifying for the state meet in Round Rock Nov. 7. The top 10 qualifiers not on the four advancing teams earn a state bid.

“He’s got a great shot to qualify,” Thompson said.

To Eisen, a spot at state and a new record time definitely would be a perfect ending.

“It’s what I’ve worked for and it would complete my high school cross country career,” Eisen said. “I want to get in the 16s. I ran the 17:02 at district and I was mad when I got my time. But definitely, I want to finish in the top 10 and move on.”

He’ll get the chance back where his speedy transformation began.

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