The Travel Journals: Drake Heinz of Benton


La.Milesplit Travel Journal

I felt honored to be asked do a travel journal when asked by Louisiana Milesplit. This year would be my last high school cross country season and I wanted it to be fun and hopefully, finish it by winning the 4A team title and an individual title.  I had high hopes going in and I am now overjoyed with the goals that both my team and I personally set and accomplished. 

Coming into this year, team wise, we only lost one major contributor, Brandon Lewis.  He was fourth at the state meet last year and left a big spot to fill.  Over the season, our team has stepped up and brought their “A” game every single race.  We are undefeated two years in a row and I couldn’t imagine running with a greater group of guys. 

Our first race this year was on our own course, at Cypress Park in Benton.  Coach Trammel designed it himself and it consisted of a very tough course through woods, up and down hills, and even a few small ravines.  It was a two mile race against a few teams around the Parish. Since it was the first race of the season, I was feeling it a little but I still won with an 11:05.  I was happy considering it was the start of the season and it was a hard course. The rest of my team finished close behind and we had a perfect score.  It was a great race to start off my senior year.  

Our second race of the year was in Thibodaux, about five hours away. We had run here the year before and I knew the Robinson twins would be there. Knowing they are very fast I planned to run my own race.  Not even a mile into the race my stomach was getting to me, I had taken a pre-race Gatorade drink, which I knew I should not have taken.  Three guys on my team were with me the whole race pushing me to keep going; I picked it up the last half mile and finished third, just like last year.  I ran a 17:26, not what I wanted but considering the Robinsons were nowhere in sight and I felt bad, I wasn't too upset.  Good job at state Bryce and Beau, I enjoyed watching you run again.

The third race of the year was at the first Pineville Invitational. The day was perfect and I liked the course. I wasn't planning for anything big, just wanted to break 17 minutes.  I took off into the lead with my team right behind me.  A kid from Barbe, Bradley I think, was next to me the whole race until about the last 400 meters; I picked it up and won with a 16:56, and we also won the team title that day, it was a good day overall. 

Our fourth race was back at our own course, except this time it was a 5k, through the hills and woods.  I had been working on the mental factor of my race and was ready to test it out. I immediately took the lead and pushed hard to see what I could do on this tough course. I ran the course exactly how I planned and won with a 17:57 with Stephen not far behind.

Our fifth and biggest race of the regular season was at the Johnny Miller Classic, a pretty big meet that I was excited about because I really like this course.  I didn’t even know our 4A rivals, St. Thomas More, was there until I walked up to the starting line.  That was a surprise I didn’t see coming but it gave me another reason to run faster.  I took off in the front with Christopher Lagrange; about 500 meters into the race I went fast down the first big hill and never looked back.  I ran a 16:15; my fastest time ever and we beat STM as a team, a big win for Benton. 

The sixth and final regular season race of my high school career was back at our Cypress Park 5K course.  It was our district meet with about four teams, not a very big meet  It felt the same as last time except Dylan Oliver was there, my biggest 4A competitor.  We both took off and I beat him into the woods about 400 meters into the race.  I slowly left him and beat him by 16 seconds with a 17:29. Dylan is a very good competitor and I enjoy racing him, he pushes me to be my best. We both push each other every single time we race cross country or track, I owe a lot of my success to this friendly competition.  Benton boys and girls won and I had a strong first place finish.  What a great way to end the regular season and now it was time to prepare for state. 

Looking on milesplit, I was projected to win and the team was projected to take first as well.  I planned to race like I have all year, take the lead in the beginning and put distance between me and the field.  I ran exactly how I planned it out and came out victorious.  It was an amazing day, Benton won back-to-back team titles and I won my first cross country individual title.  I ran a 16:17, two seconds behind my PR.  I had hoped to PR at state but considering everyone’s times that day and the GPS watches that I checked, the course seemed a little longer than three miles.  Oh well, I had won and my team took the title, a pretty good way to finish my last cross country high school meet.

I would like to thank Coach Trammel for his commitment to me and the team over the years.  I would not be the man or athlete I am today without him.  I love my team and the entire group of parents who have supported us.