Athletes, coaches, and spectators all know that high school sport programs have revolving doors. As the older experienced seniors leave, the younger crop of underclassmen steps in to fill the spot in hopes of becoming the best they can be. Rarely, however, does an underclassman have abilities that are actually comparable to the seniors leaving. Meet Graham Dean.
A sophomore on the men’s varsity cross-country team, Dean’s abilities have exceeded the expectations of both his coach and teammates. Placing fourth at the Shadow Cliffs Invitational on Sep 21 and third overall at the Piedmont Fallfest 5k.
“Graham is very talented and was running better times in cross-country [as a freshman] than I did even as a sophomore,” Frost said.
Dean’s skills are evident both in the fall and the spring, with a top mile time of 5:10 this summer.
“I have goals of cutting that time down to a sub-five minute mile pace. I would be thrilled with achieving that,” Dean said. “For now though I am happy about my position on the [cross-country] team. It’s nice to be competing with faster runners, so they can push me to do better every time we practice.
Although Graham is quite fond of being a member of the team, his coach looks upon him as a very valuable commodity as well.
Head cross-country coach Chris Thayer said, “I think we all have high expectations for him. His job, though, is to simply work as hard as he can and continue to do what he is great at doing. The victories will come thereafter.”
Many onlookers have begun to view Dean as Frost’s successor.
As a senior, Frost will be heading off to college next year, with hopes of running at the collegiate level.
“For the schools I’m looking at, I would have to make my decision on where I commit by Nov 1, since that is the early-decision deadline,” Frost said.
Last fall along with teammate Billy Ireland, Frost advanced to the state meet for individuals. During the spring track season Frost posted a personal best of 4:25 for the mile. Recently, he set his best 3-mile time at 15:50.
“I want to leave Piedmont knowing that I made an impact of fellow runners and athletes in a positive way. I also want to set a high bar for future runners to chase after and eventually break,” Frost said.
Time will tell to see if Dean will be able to carry on the torch after Frost graduates.