By the time he joins the University of Oregon powerhouse this fall, Cedar Park High School's track and cross country ace, Parker Stinson, will have competed against some of the world's best young distance runners.
On June 25, Stinson successfully defended his title in the 10,000 meters at the USA Junior Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa, posting a personal record of 30 minutes, 56 seconds. A year ago, he took the national title in 31:18.
"The goal was to try to make it to worlds," said Stinson. "I ended up winning by quite a bit. (The Junior Nationals have) been going for 38 years, and no one has ever won the Junior Nationals twice. Now I have a chance to win it three times."
On July 20, Stinson will compete in the 10,000 meters at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Junior Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick. This event draws elite runners who are 20 years old or younger from 170 countries.
"We're going to try for a sub-30-minute time," says his Cedar Park coach, Timo Sheard. "The race is at 10 p.m., so the temperatures should be good. And there will be people that are faster to pull him along."
Stinson is training 70 to 80 miles a week.
"I should have a pretty good shot at breaking 30 minutes in Canada," he said. "The World Juniors are held every other year, and in 2008, a Kenyan (Josphat Kipkoech) won in 27:30. It's pretty crazy — most of the guys are already collegiate runners. I'll probably get my butt kicked, but that will make me train all the harder."
Stinson is one of the best distance runners to emerge from Central Texas in the past decade.
At Oregon, a crucible for some of America's finest distance runners, the talent is so deep that it's common for freshmen to redshirt. But Stinson says he expects to run this fall and is looking to be in the cross country team's top five.
"In high school you run 5,000-meter cross country courses, and in college, 10,000," said Stinson. "So most freshmen need to build up to that."
Wednesday: Sunstroke Summer Stampede Race No. 10, 7 p.m. at Lady Bird Lake Trail. See summerstampede.com.
Thursday: Camp Victory, Iraq, 5K/10K Shadow Run, 9:30 p.m. at Round Rock I.S.D. Athletic Complex. See honorheroes5k.org.
Saturday: Vern's No Frills 5K Race No. 16, 8 a.m. at Berry Springs Park & Preserve, Georgetown. See runtex.com.
Caleb 5K Run, 8 a.m. at 15201 Burnet Road. See caleb5k.com.
Sunday: Marble Falls Triathlon, 7 a.m. at Lakeside Park, Marble Falls. See marblefallstri.com.