Gatorade Boys Runner of the Year: Aaron Willingham

Posted by: MBR on Thu Jan 22nd, 2015 6:50 am
Willingham earns cross-country honorClass A individual state champion Aaron Willingham of Mt. Blue High School in Farmington has been named the 2014-15 Gatorade Maine Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.The 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior won the Class A state championship race with the best time of the day regardless of class, 16 minutes, 0.62 seconds.Willingham controlled the field for most of his race, only to be passed by Falmouth’s Bryce Murdick with less than a half-mile to go. But Willingham, who failed to finish the 2014 state race because of a stress fracture, had enough of a kick left to retake the lead and sprint to the finish a half-second ahead of Murdick.“He caught up to me with 600 [meters] to go and started to pull ahead, but I saw the finish line and pushed back ahead,” said Willingham after the race. “I didn’t want to look back. I was so scared about what I’d see.”Willingham went on to place 22nd at the New England Cross Country Championships with a time of 16:16.“Mt. Blue and Maine cross-country in general can count themselves fortunate to have had the chance to get to know Aaron Willingham and watch him compete,” said Cony of Augusta head coach Shawn Totman. “His amazing physical ability and mental toughness are impressive. As an opposing coach, you watched him run with the utmost respect.”Willingham, who moved to the Farmington area from Texas after his sophomore year of high school, also won the 2014 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Eastern Maine Class A championship races.Earlier in the season, he posted a 15:58.30 clocking at a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet on Sept. 11, the state’s fastest 5K of the season.Willingham remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.Willingham joins Josef Holt-Andrews (2013-14, Telstar of Bethel), Dan Curts (2012-13, Ellsworth), Matt McClintock (2011-12 and 2010-11, Madison), Will Geoghegan (2009-10 and 2008-09, Brunswick), and Nick Williams (2007-08, Poland) as athletes who have won the Gatorade Maine boys cross-country award since its inception in 2007.Source: BDN