PARKWAY'S GABRIEL FALTING HEADS FOR THE BORDER DASH FINISH!
The first memory Parkway's Gabriel Falting has of running in The Border Dash is when he was in the fourth grade and during the race the thought came across his mind that he better speed up or his dad--Parkway head coach Kent Falting--would yell at him.
Saturday, the father-coach didn't yell. He interrupted his son's MileSplit interview to give him a hug and tell him he loved him.
Saturday's Border Dash marked the ninth straight year the Parkway senior has participated in the race which his father started, and he saved the best for last-winning with a time of 15:37.
To make it even more special for Falting, he led a Parkway team which set a meet record with a score of 16 points.
"It feels really great," Falting said. "This year I didn't have Evan, and Tripp Roemer told me he wasn't going to run the whole race so I knew it was going be me and my teammates--which is super good competition. It's actually my ninth year in a row running in the Border Dash so it was good to end on a high note."
Saturday's Border Dash was not the first meet for the Panthers. Kent Falting's team went to Tennessee last weekend to open their season at the City Auto Memphis Twilight Classic where the Panthers finished second. Gabe Falting finished No. 17 in a field of over 500 runners with a 5K time of 16:37.
"Just to see him as a senior to go out and get a dominant win and feel confident and happy...chase his dreams down. That-you know-matters way more than the coach part on this. It's amazing to get to see it."
Kent Falting, Parkway head coach/father
"In Memphis, I was super proud of the team and I think everyone was super happy we got second in a meet with eight states running in it," Gabe Falting said. "I think we all wanted a little bit more individually--time wise--so we came here with a little bit of confidence from that meet but a whole lot of motivation to run faster today."
Of all the special Border Dash memories Coach Falting has had over the years, the one he experienced with his son on Saturday will move to the top and be one in which neither forgets.
"It's definitely amazing," Coach Falting said. "I'm truly blessed to get to coach my own son. I know a lot of people don't get to do that. It has been heart-breaking with the near misses over the years. To work so hard and get second, and second, and second. Just to see him as a senior to go out and get a dominant win and feel confident and happy...chase his dreams down. That--you know--matters way more than the coach part of this. It's amazing to get to see it."
As for Gabe Falting's first memory of the Border Dash...
"I was running in the fourth grade race back when they had that (elementary division)," Falting said. "I wasn't smart. I was like I'm going to start off super slow so I could finish super fast. We started at the start line and when we got to the first turn, I was third from last. I was like 'well, dad is going to yell at me' so I took off and ended up passing the first place kid to win the race."
Other runners with a hand in Parkway's record-breaking Border Dash performance included Gary Smith (No. 2, 15:55), Brennan Robin (No. 3, 16:08), Ben Ruliffson (No. 4, 16:18), and Andrew Kent (No. 6, 16:26).
After a competing on back-to-back weeks, Parkway's varsity team will a well-deserved Saturday off before running in the Clinton Arrow Invitational on September 23 in Clinton, Mississippi. Parkway's junior varsity will compete in next Saturday's Huntington Raider Invitational.