During the dog days of summer, Doddridge County junior Carter Lipscomb set the tone for a successful fall campaign.
"I ended this summer with 575 miles, so about 57.5 a week on a 10-week period," Lipscomb said.
For his efforts, Lipscomb claimed the individual win for the Class A-AA boys race in 16:38.06, at the St. Mary's XC Festival held at Cabell Midland on Aug. 31. Lipscomb edged second-place finisher Matthew Scheneberg, of Winfield, by 11 seconds for the victory.
"Carter works very hard," Doddridge coach Craig Kellar said. "He's very dedicated and we've had very few like him. We want him to be successful and if he stays on the path he's heading, we think he will."
The meet marked the third of the season for Doddridge and the first win of the year for Lipscomb after opening with back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Autumn Classic at St. Marys on Aug. 24, then at University on Aug. 27.
This season, Lipscomb said he feels a little heat from the competition as he returns as the highest finisher from the 2018 cross country state championship, following the graduation of winner Aaron Withrow, of Winfield, and Ravenswood's Bryce Jarrell, the runner-up.
"I definitely feel like there's a little bit of a target on my back," Lipscomb said, "but at the end of the day it's just catch me if you can. I've got good competition, so it's definitely not going to be a gimme kind of season. I still have to work as hard as I can."
That's why Lipscomb's summer training proved so important, and he worked with Doddridge assistant coach Josh Weekley to develop the perfect plan for fall success.
"The summer is critical," Weekley said. 'You can really describe cross country as a summer sport with a fall payoff."
Lipscomb rotated different workouts including tempo runs and hills runs, with an overall focus on building mileage, Weekley said.
Prior to shifting his summer focus to cross country, Lipscomb enjoyed a successful track and field season. As a sophomore, Lipscomb won the 3200-meter run, holding off Jarrell by two-tenths of a second, and he finished runner-up in the 1600 to help lead Doddridge to the Class AA team championship.
Because of his dedication to pushing his physical limits, Lipscomb excels when others faulter.
"I think I'm 100 percent strength," Lipscomb said. "At the end of the day, the longer I go, the stronger I get, and when others break down, I just keep on grinding."
After placing seventh at the state meet as a freshman and third last year, this season Lipscomb said he hopes to capture both the individual and team title. Along the way, he also said he hopes to break 16:00 this season.
Lipscomb and Doddridge will next race at the Chick-Fil-A Invitational at Mineral Wells 9 a.m. Sept. 7.