CHARLESTON -- Brent Demarest had a good year in cross country, dropping his personal best for the second straight season and winning his second straight SCISA championship, but his coach thinks the sophomore’s best years are still ahead.
“(Brent) has an extremely bright future ahead of him and I can’t wait to witness what lies ahead for his junior and senior years,” said High Knight, cross country coach at Porter Gaud High.
Brent led the Cyclones to their second-straight state title in cross country and earned scrunners.com Runner of the Week honors for his performance the SCISA event. He ran a personal record of 15:45 at that event.
The Runner of the Week award is presented each week during the cross country season by On On Tri and Go-Green Timing. On the girl’s side, Logan Morris took the award for the third time this season, this one for her performance at the SCISA meet held at Heathwood Hall in Columbia.
Knight said he has been coaching Brent since he was in sixth grade.
‘We’re usually a little leery about starting kids before seventh grade, but Brent had a huge background of endurance training and that really helped him,” Knight said. Brent was in competitive swimming at the time and remains on the Cyclones swim team.
“We could tell early on that (Brent) was loaded with potential,” Knight said.
Brent said he developed an interest in running while competing in South Carolina’s most popular 10K -- the Cooper River Bridge Run. That was in sixth grade and after running in a few 5,000-meter races that summer, he joined the Porter-Gaud cross country team because he enjoyed running and to help in his swimming training.
In fact, Brent has done well at both sports, having won the 500 freestyle and 200 individual medley at the SCISA State Championships in September. He also competes in triathlons and aquathlons (run/swim) on a national level, he said.
But his coach says Brent is “comfortable” at long-distance running.
“Brent is totally comfortable and relaxed when he’s on a cross country course,” Knight said. “While many athletes like to have a pack to work with and feed off of, Brent is comfortable running from the front. His stride is smooth and there’s no wasted effort in his running motion.”
Though the SCISA season has been a very successful one for Brent and Porter-Gaud, Brent said he’s looking forward to doing well at Foot Locker South later this month at McAlpine Park in Charlotte.
“That’s one of my favorite cross country courses,” he said.
Brent said his mother ran cross country in college and urged him to join the Cyclone’s cross country team four years ago. And, though he still has a couple of years before high school graduation, Brent said he’d like to compete at the next level.
“Hopefully, by the time I am a senior, my times will be competitive enough to consider some really great running schools,” he said.
Meanwhile, Brent said he plans to continue his swimming and possibly compete in indoor track over the winter and the outdoor track season next spring.