USAFA — So far this CHSAA cross country season, it has been Air Academy's Bethany Michalak.
And then there is the rest of the pack.
"I am a very determined person," explained Michalak. "So once I put my mind to something I really like to accomplish it. I love running and I love running in the nature"
It's a love started when Michalak was little, with Kokopelli running group.
"When Bethany was little and first in our group, there was no way any of our coaches would of predicted where she is at right now," explained Lisa Rainsberger, head coach of Kokopelli Racing Group.
"She has made me the runner I am today," added Michalak.
But here is the thing, this Kadet freshman wasn't expecting to burst onto the scene.
"I never go into a racing thinking I am going to win," said Michalak. "It's the wrong mindset."
Whatever mindset Bethany had for her first high school race worked. The freshman blew out the competition with a 17:36 time in the 5K. A time good enough to win last year's state title and shatter her own expectations.
"My goal (this year) was the break 18, but I already did that," laughed Michalak.
So what's next for the freshman phenom? Well, for one thing, a state championship isn't unimaginable.
"That's a goal, at least to get in the top 3. I just have to keep trying."