SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- After a sensational freshman year, Myles Plummer came into this cross-country campaign confident and motivated to take his running to an even higher level this fall.
And so far the sophomore star at Union Catholic has served notice to the rest of the state that he's very fit, and has the potential to achieve some big goals and run with the state's best this season.
Plummer opened his season by running a personal best 16:20 to finish 13th at the Roxbury Invitational at Horseshoe Lake Park on Sept. 7. He followed that up by placing second in 16:29 at the NJCTC Bernie Magee Invitational Class Meet on Sept. 21 on the Greystone Course at Central Park in Morris Plains. Then this past Saturday, Plummer returned to Greystone and finished first in the B Division race 16:25 to lead the Vikings to a 42-76 victory over Secaucus.
For Plummer's achievements, he's been chosen as Union Catholic's Male Athlete of the Week for the Union County Conference.
Plummer is excited about how his season has started.
"It felt good to PR (personal record) within the first two meets of the season,'' said Plummer. "Even though they were not my most strategic races, I am excited because my times show how much stronger I am than last year, and the season is just beginning. My workouts have increased in intensity and my early times are pretty reflective of that. I am excited to see my progression throughout all three seasons.''
Last fall, Plummer placed third at the Union County Championships and ran at 17:03 at Holmdel Park, the state championship course.
Then last spring, Plummer exploded with a PR of 1:55.52 when he won the 800-meter run in the Emerging Elite Division at the New Balance National Championships and ran a PR of 4:20.07 in the 1,600.
"Coming off of a successful indoor and outdoor season, I came into this XC season with a lot of confidence, feeling excited to train harder and compete on a higher level,'' said Plummer. "In my freshman year, I felt blessed to be able to compete with some of the best high school runners in the country. Following my performances at New Balance, I was confident in my training and excited about my progression.''
What are Plummer's goals for this season?
"My biggest goal this year is to be competitive against some of the best runners in the state, and ultimately being able to win a title during my sophomore year,'' said Plummer, who wll be back in action at this Saturday's Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park. "I would like to run at least in the mid 16's at Holmdel. It would be an amazing accomplishment for me to be county XC champ as a sophomore, knowing that I have two years remaining ahead of me. I am very motivated knowing that I have a good chance going into counties and I have coaches who believe in me.''
UC boys head coach Mike McCabe said Plummer is very fit and the objective is for him to peak during the championship portion of the season.
"Myles put in a strong summer of training with the goal to race his best in November,'' said Coach McCabe.
What are Plummer's greatest strengths as a distance runner?
"I would say that my greatest strength as a distance runner is that even though I have strength and endurance, I also have pretty good foot speed. This helps me with closing my races.''
Plummer has been involved in running since he was very young, but wasn't always a distance runner.
"I began running at six years old,'' said Plummer. "Believe it or not, I started out as a sprinter. But one meet my AAU coach put everyone in the 800 and 1500, and from then on I became a middle distance runner.''
Plummer said he loves how much cross-country helps his times on the track.
"What I like most about distance running is the impact that it has on my indoor and outdoor performances,''. said Plummer. "It lays the foundation. Also, distance races are more strategic and allow you to exercise patience, whereas there is really no time to think during a sprint on the track.''