As a sophomore, Adam Millburg watched teammate Mark Stice compete in the Class 2A cross country state championships.
But as a junior, Millburg got his turn on the starting line at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Millburg, running in his first state meet, finished 34th in Class 2A, crossing the finish line in 15:37 as the top local runner.
“I thought it went pretty good. I had one of my better races,” Millburg said. “I was pretty close to all-state (top 25). Hopefully, next year I can get down there and get a few more places.”
For Millburg’s accomplishments throughout the season, the Sycamore junior has been named the 2013 Daily Chronicle Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Millburg also finished fifth in the Burlington Regional and 14th in the Belvidere Sectional.
Millburg emerged as Sycamore’s top runner this year and helped make a formidable 1-2 duo with Stice, who also qualified for state. The two helped carry Sycamore to an early season ranking in the top 25, and the Spartans were a mere five points away from qualifying for the sectional meet as a team.
Sycamore coach Mike Lambdin has seen Millburg progress from a raw freshman to a seasoned junior over the past three years. Yet there are certain characteristics that have remained in Millburg over that time.
“The thing about Adam that’s always gotten my attention is his determination,” Lambdin said. “What he lacks in stature he makes up for in grit. If there’s a workout that he’s running or a race he’s running and a goal to be achieved, all you have to do is give him some encouragement.”
The two teammates were consistent training partners in the offseason and Millburg credited the help of Stice, who is a senior, for his progress this year.
“It’s a lot of help, especially in the summers putting in a lot of mileage,” Millburg said. “He’s always there to run with. Every single meet someone to run with ... it’s nice to have someone there.”
Millburg, who wants to be all-state in his senior cross country season, will continue to work in the offseason winter months.
When outdoor track rolls around, Millburg hopes to make it to the state track meet for the first time in the 3,200 meters. It’s another place Stice has been and Millburg hopes to get to.
“We have a winter running program that I’ll do, putting a lot of miles in with my team,” Millburg said. “Getting ready for the track season.”
DAILY CHRONICLE BOYS CROSS COUNTRY ALL-AREA TEAM
Isaac Hietanen, DeKalb, senior
Hietanen was the unquestioned leader for DeKalb. He came up just short of a state berth by finishing 37th at the Class 2A Belvidere North Sectional in 16:16.
Nathaniel Kucera, Kaneland, senior
Kaneland's best runner at the end of the year, Kucera helped the Knights back to the state meet and finished 67th individually.
Andrew Lesak, Kaneland, junior
Lesak was the Knights' second finisher at the state meet, coming in 114th at 16:17 and providing a solid backup to Kucera.
Adam Millburg, Sycamore, junior
Millburg had a breakout season and was named the Daily Chronicle Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. He finished 34th at state and will have another year to get to all-state status.
Mark Stice, sr., Sycamore: Stice and Millburg provided a great 1-2 punch for Sycamore all year. The senior qualified for his second state cross country meet and finished 86th.
Ryan Bower, Kaneland, senior
Kyle Carter, Kaneland, senior
Philip Nordgren, Hiawatha, sophomore
Kendryk Rand, Sycamore, senior
Sean Spaetzel, Kaneland, sophomore
– Ross Jacobson, email@example.com