Jacob DeTemple admits it. He wasn’t quite in tip-top condition when the cross country season started in the fall.
The Burley High School junior didn’t have a ton of time to train over the summer and really get ready for the upcoming campaign. But, once he got started, he hit the ground running.
“I started out not in great shape. Then I just kept getting better and better,” DeTemple said. “While a lot of guys peaked earlier, I just kind of kept on getting better.”
DeTemple’s times continued to climb until he hit his peak, running a personal best—by about 30 seconds—to finish sixth in the 4A state championship. With his dominating performances all season, DeTemple is the Times-News boys cross country runner of the year.
DeTemple’s first time of the year, from the Jerome/College of Southern Idaho Invitational on Aug. 24, was 17:02.2. His time at the state championship meet was 15:33.6.
There were many factors that made the difference in DeTemple’s season, which saw him cut nearly one full minute off the personal record he set as a sophomore.
DeTemple said he wrestled last year, then did track and worked on a farm over the summer, which made him physically and mentally stronger, and positively impacted the way he ran this past season.
However, it was perhaps a change in mentality at the start of races that made the most profound impact on his performances.
“Going into every single race, I was going for first place every time,” DeTemple said. “Last year, I was more looking at just trying to get good times. I just went for it every time this year.”
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At the Dani Bates invite in Twin Falls on Sept. 27, Burley head coach Carrie Carson noted that DeTemple doesn’t even wear a watch, whereas most other runners do to keep track of their times.
His training methods changed during the season, too, and that only bolstered DeTemple’s times, and his places in every race.
Carson said DeTemple would add his own running routines to the normal ones at practice during the season, including waking up early and running before school, or even running more after practice.
“He’s always asking for ways for ways to improve,” Carson said at the Dani Bates Invite. “He’s great because he wants to be great.”
One thing that will sit with DeTemple heading into next year is his state finish. Sixth place, while impressive on the surface, was the same finish he had at state a season ago.
DeTemple felt disappointed, given that some of the runners who finished ahead of him were the same ones he’d beaten at the district race 10 days prior to state.
There’s no doubt he’ll come out with even more to prove when the next cross country season rolls around.
“I know I’m gonna be more confident,” DeTemple said. “I know I’m gonna go out there and compete with them.”