Wesley Curles made sure anyone who wanted to test him at the state cross country meet this year would have to keep up through the first half of the race at Oakville Indian Mounds Park. It was at that point, he dropped a few runners on the hills, and knew he was on his way to not only a second-consecutive win, but also the state 3A record.
The Trinity senior won the race in 16:08, beating the previous record of 16:16 by Montgomery Academy’s Wallace Campbell in 2003. The competitive-driven Curles says that while having competition would have made him a faster runner, being in front has been both encouraging and motivating.
“The success has also motivated me to work hard having that target on my back,” he said. “I feel I had a good balance of that this year.”
Curles, who maintains a 4.1 GPA and who plans to run competitively in college next year, is the All-Metro Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year — for the third consecutive season.
He talks about his future, his last high school cross country race, and what he will miss.
Focusing on running as a future
“I think this year I definitely focused (on running). I just realized how much I loved it. I’ve always loved it, but this year, I realized that it was something that I want to do in college and could see myself doing it for four years. I think that was a motivating factor in my success. I still love basketball, but beginning this summer, I really focused on running and getting a strong running base.”
On what has meant the most his senior year
“I’m happy with how the season went individually, but I’d say the thing that I’m happiest about is just the transformation of the team, from when I started running cross country and now as I’m leaving the program. I’m really excited about the future of the team. Seven of our top 10 runners were ninth grade or younger.”
Discussion on higher education
“Right now, my top three colleges are Auburn, Alabama and Vanderbilt.”
On what he will miss from his high school career
“I will miss being out in the front and being favored to win every race. But more than that, I will miss the camaraderie and enjoying being with my team and people I’ve run with for a very long time. I’ll miss interacting with people and coaches from other teams. Just spending time with them. It’s been fun; it has been a great experience. I’ve just enjoyed seeing how track and cross country have grown in Montgomery and at Trinity over the past four years.
What Curles will take from high school to college
“My work ethic probably is going to be the main thing. It’s going to be different not being at the front of the pack. I’ll be trying to work my way into the top 10 instead of trying to beat everybody. I think it’ll be a different type of motivation, but I plan to carry that same work ethic day in and day out. It’s going to be a completely different level as far as mileage and time.”
The last mile of his last high school cross country state competition
I knew there would be a few people who would try to stay in that front pack with me for as long as they could. So I took the pace out pretty fast … I knew that I probably had the title about halfway through when I lost some people in the hills. So that last mile I was … you can’t really think about how weird it is that it is the last cross country meet you’ll run for your school. I just wasn’t looking back, and giving it everything I had, knowing it was the last time I’d ever run for Trinity.”
Emotion at the end?
“It was more dizziness than emotion. Right at the end, it just felt like a normal race, but it didn’t sink in after until a couple of hours after, that that was the last state meet I’d ever run and the last meet in a Trinity uniform.”
On breaking the 3A state record
“That was something that was in the back of my mind. I knew I had a shot at it when I came through the two-mile mark. That was a goal of mine. When I came through two miles, I was on pace, a little under pace, to break the record.”