Daniel started running cross-country at Harrison Park in Kindergarten, in 2015. He medaled in his first race, a top 30 finish in the Invitational 400m.
In his second season as a promoted 2nd grader he achieved similar placings to his Kindergarten year, improving his first race time by 46 seconds by the end of the season. He again medaled in the Invitational. All this at twice the distance to last year, and a year or two younger than pretty much everyone in his races.
He took part in the GRPS Turkey Trot ’Mini Trot’ in 2016, a 1K road race. It was a non-chipped run and I didn’t note his placing but he was in a nice mid-race position.
He signed up for his first mile race in Hastings in March 2017. The volunteer missed his turn so he kept running, and ended up completing the 5K in an astounding unofficial Garmin time of 33 minutes!
His first official 5K was also the first he completed in one go, the 5/3 River Bank Run. His time of 27:16 was the fastest among boys under 10! His 12yo cousin Tyler ran his first organized race after catching the running bug from Dan at spring break, and finished in 26:48.
In the spring of 2017 he competed in track for the first time. He took a couple of races to get used to the tactics and distance of 800 meters, but then in the last race he used a quicker start out of the gun to get himself into a good position, around 5th on the first bend. He worked his way through to 2nd by the bell and held his pace for the final lap, finishing second in a time of 3:28. He tried 100m and 200m but the longer distance is more his thing.
His third season of cross-country saw him finally competing with his peers again, running with 2nd graders as well as 3rds. After an 11th place in the first race he really pushed himself and came in 2nd, 3rd and 4th in his remaining races in the season.
He picked up his first 5K placing medal with a 2nd place in the 9 & Under at the Medaling Monkey, his 7th 5K, finishing the short course in 23:53.
His 8th race of the year saw him pick up a new PR, 25:36 in the Turkey Trot. He also knocked 35 seconds off last year’s 1K time immediately afterward.
In the beginning of 2018 he put in a couple of quick times on testing 5K courses in Lansing and Fruitport, both right around the 26:00 mark.
Back on the track in the spring of 2018, on opening day Dan picked up another 2nd place ribbon in the 800m finishing just a couple of seconds behind his Midwest soccer team-mate Liam (who had beaten him three times in cross-country in the fall before he knew him), and blew another quarter of a minute off his personal best. He also did well in the 200 meters, winning his heat by a large margin and finishing second in the final listing.
By the end of the school season he’d picked up 9 awards in 11 events. Three 2nds and a 3rd in 800m; a 2nd, a 3rd and 4th in 200m; and two 4th places in the standing long jump. And edged out Liam in his final three 800m races!
Daniel joined the GR FIRE Track & Field club in the spring of 2018, and in his first year of competition was a two-event qualifier for the AAU nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.
He qualified for the Regionals in his first ever competitive 1500m and Long Jump placing 4th in each in the Districts, and also grabbed a 5th in the 800m in a personal best time despite brutal heat and humidity.
He missed out on the Nationals in the 800m by a single place, but qualified in the 1500m and picked up a silver medal in the Long Jump with a PB.
In Des Moines he finished 50th in the 1500m placing 9th in his heat, and placed 35th in the Long Jump, both performances being slight improvements over the Regional numbers.
His fourth season of cross-country saw him step up to some races over 1600 meters (as he was a 3rd grader by age running in 4th/5th grade races), and switched to C.A. Frost for his final year of elementary school. He placed 3rd, 4th and 5th in the 800m races, and a respectable 9th in the 1600m invitational.
As 2019 rolled in, he decided to stop running 5Ks. In school track he was in the 4th/5th grade races, so he was running "up" a year or two. He earned two 4th place ribbons in the 800m. For his final elementary meet he ran in the 2nd/3rd grade with his age peers. He finished 5th in the 800m behind a strong showing from his school team-mates, but in the 100m he finished 3rd with a PB of 15.55. He opted not to run club track in 2019, and gave up all running activities at the same time, preferring to concentrate on soccer.