Athlete: Dalton Heller, Class of 2024
Team: Varsity Boys Cross Country
“I first started running in the fall of sixth grade,” said Heller. “I have been on varsity for 1 year and I got on varsity by breaking 18 minutes for a 5k [the 5000-meter race].”
He said, “I didn’t have any other sport to do in the fall, so I did running.”
Dalton has had an incredible start to his high school career, starting on varsity from the very beginning, and placing “at all but 2” of his races. He also has “improved every race,” making him the fastest freshman ever at Millard South.
“I feel pretty proud and pretty grateful to be able to be the fastest freshman at Millard South ever,” Heller said.
Best 5k Time: 16:51 in the Millard West Quad at Walnut Grove
Favorite Course: Walnut Creek
Favorite Meet: The NSAA State Cross Country Championships
Although this fall season has been practically perfect for the freshman, Heller faced a very difficult challenge last year.
“Last year, I found out that I had a rare heart condition, so I wasn’t able to run at all,” Dalton said. “I didn’t run for 10 months, and then I started running again this previous summer.”
Not only has Heller been running, and doing very well, he ended up placing 5th at the district meet at Walnut Creek on Oct. 14, earning himself a spot at state, as a freshman.
“As a freshman running at state for the first time, it was a proud moment for myself,” said Heller. “It made me feel really good and caused me to realized how good I could actually do in future years.”
Dalton said that his teammate, Isaiah Rasmussen, who also qualified for state, has become his mentor this year, saying, “he started out as a pretty good freshman and I wanted to succeed just like he did.”
“My favorite thing about the team is how connected we all are and how we are all friends. They help motivate me during practice and races, making me a better runner.”
Heller said he owes his success to his coaches, teammates, and family members, saying “thank you for all that you do.”
Being named “Athlete of the Year” for the Boys Cross Country team, Dalton has definitely lived up to that title and will continue to do so for the rest of his running career.
“Just knowing that I have the capability to keep getting better and that I am not going to stop,” said Heller, “that helps me stay motivated to keep pushing myself and become the best runner that I can be.”