Henry Ilyasova to Represent Manitou Springs at State Cross Country Meet


Ben Schwartz

Henry Ilyasova (10) poses with his medal after placing at the Florence meet. Ilyasova continuously improved his times at races to qualify for state.

Zak Talbot, Copy Editor

High school athletics offers a lot to those who participate and give their greatest effort. Everyone who braves the physical challenges brought on by sports gain advantages such as mental toughness, leadership skills and much more. Though, only a few get to experience the glory that comes with being victorious in an event. Manitou Springs High School (MSHS) cross country runner Henry Ilyasova (10), has felt this feeling and many others as he qualified for the state cross country meet. The rare feat is accomplished by only a small fraction of competitors across Colorado. Ilyasova qualified on the last meet of the year, right before state as he ran the 3.1-mile race in an astonishing 17 minutes and 37 seconds. With this time, Ilyasova will be competing against the best of the best in Colorado, but not many have trained for as long and as hard that he has for that specific moment.

“Over the summer I ran like 328 miles, plus the cross country training, but this summer definitely helped me,” said Ilyasova on account of his personal training that helped get him to his state qualification time.

Although his uncommon motivation and extraordinary drive helped push him to his great accomplishment, Ilyasova also credits the other members of the MSHS cross country team for pushing him and giving him an outlet for the mental and physical stress of the rigorous sport. The tight bond the team created was not only just a compliment to Ilyasova’s accomplishment, but it also shined great light on the arrangement of the season put on by the coaches. The team all took part in exhausting practices and rehabilitating team dinners in order to create a connection that allowed all of them to compete at a much higher level every day.

“There were a lot of nice people and it was just really fun,” said Ilyasova, “It was just nice to run with them because they’re good people.”

Good people are exactly what helped Ilyasova get himself in a position to compete for even greater glory at the state competition. Ilyasova has achieved what the majority of participants in his sport only can dream of and imagine. Though, he’s far from finished. It’s one thing to qualify, but in the sophomore standout’s case, the state race is another challenge that he won’t let stop him from bettering himself. Throughout all the distractions the large event may bring, Ilyasova still has one more goal in mind for his final underclassman cross country season: “I want to get better than last time, probably around 17 minutes and 15 seconds,” said Ilyasova.

Although this time may seem impossible to reach, especially with all the pressure the larger scale meet brings, there isn’t a much better competitor for the job than Ilyasova. He will be participating at the state meet on Oct. 26 as he’ll be backed by the coaches, the team and the school that brought him up so he could reap the benefits of his hard work.