Junior cross country runner Alex Forbess is one of the most improved runners in the Southern California Intercollegiate Conference and hopes to take the conference by storm next year.
Forbess placed second at this year’s SCIAC Championships.
“If you would have told me last year that Alex was going to place second, I wouldn’t believe you,” teammate Sean Kusick said. “But after his races leading up to the championship I knew he was going to do good.”
Forbess began running competitively at Charter Oak High School in his freshman year of track season.
“I always liked to play football, and running was like playing football to me, it just didn’t involve a ball,” Forbess said.
Forbess began with one and two mile runs and worked his way up to the longer runs.
“Back then five miles felt like 20 miles to me,” Forbess said.
Six years later Forbess, who also bakes for his teammates, was the dark horse at the SCIAC Championships where he was determined to beat Occidental’s Eric Kleinsasser, who has won the race three years in a row.
Kleinsasser took first at the SCIAC Championships for the fourth year in a row, an accolade that no male runner has accomplished in more than 100 years of the conference’s existence.
But Forbess was right there with him throughout the whole race.
“It was the best moment I’ve had here,” Forbess said. “It was just me and him throughout the whole race. He would surge then I would surge.”
Forbess finished only eight seconds behind Kleinsasser in the 4.96 mile course.
“Alex could have beaten him if he had done what I said,” head coach Michael Atwood said.
Forbess finished the course, which was at Prado Park in Chino, in 25:45.
“Eric is by far a better runner, but Alex could have beaten him psychologically,” Atwood said. “Alex has more heart, more intangibles that Eric doesn’t have.”
Forbess jumped 20 places from last year’s performance at the SCIAC Championships, where he placed 22nd with a time of 27:46.
“Last year I didn’t feel that I was the me that I am now,” Forbess said. “Over the summer I just did everything Coach (Atwood) told me to do, I have never been more dedicated in my life to running.”
After the SCIAC Championships the team competed in the NCAA Western Regionals.
“I didn’t realize how hard I was pushing my guys,” Atwood said. “Most of our guys were hurt at that race.”
Around the second mile of the race Forbess felt his foot go out and was unable to compete at his full potential.
“He thinks it’s just a sprain, but I think he might have broken it,” Atwood said.
The first official track meet is not until Feb. 4, so Forbess is resting his foot until it is completely healed to start training again.
Forbess, already a school record holder in track and field in the steeplechase, has one main goal this track season.
“I’m seeing track season as a revenge season to beat Eric,” Forbess said.
“If Alex works harder on the fundamentals he’ll be able to beat Eric,” Atwood said. “And next year he is primed to be a favorite to win the conference.”
Christian Orozco can be reached at email@example.com.