- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A brother and sister stood out on the cross country trails this past fall.
Their father was right with them every step of the way and then some.
For four years, Rachel Herzog of Patuxent High School has worked through the cross country ranks to become the program’s top female runner.
Her brother Trent, now a sophomore, has quickly become a driving force for a boys program that placed third in the Class 2A South Region championships this past fall.
Both give back to the community while excelling in the classroom and on the cross country courses, according to Patuxent head cross country coach Blaine Mably, and both are now running for the indoor track and field teams at Patuxent.
And their father, Scott, just completed his first half-marathon on Jan. 27. It’s becoming a family affair.
“I think Rachel’s grown a lot,” Mably said. “She came in pretty fresh, clean slate which is nice for a coach. She got along great with the girls on the team and they formed a tight nit group which I think helped them excel. She became a strong leader for the girls early because we didn’t have many seniors this year.”
Mably said that Rachel has become more comfortable running as of lately.
“Her stride has improved as she’s been to camps and gained more miles over the summers,” Mably said. “She looks more relaxed now when she runs. I don’t think she was this comfortable earlier on.”
Mably said that Trent had a drive to run and would come out to weekend practices when he was in the eighth-grade.
“I saw then early on that he was keeping up with the guys and I was pretty excited about that,” Mably said. “I could tell he was a solid varsity runner as a freshman. He came in with more running knowledge. He was the top sophomore finisher this year at states and luckily has stayed injury free.”
Rachel finished first three times during the regular cross country season. On Sept. 12 at Huntingtown, she won with a time of 22 minutes 41 seconds, then, on Oct. 3 at Northern, finished first in 21:32 and, on Oct. 17 at La Plata, captured the win in 21:23.
Rachel also finished seventh out of 67 runners at the Southern Bulldog Invitational on Oct. 13 with a time of 20:47. And on Oct. 26 at the SMAC championships at Oak Ridge Park in Hughesville, she finished fifth in 20:17.
“I would say that one of the most important things to keep in mind is to not compare yourself to anyone,” Rachel said, “Yes, places and medals might be goals to shoot for, but what is truly satisfying is being better than you were the day before and, eventually, a month or a year ago. Running is simple, and starting out slow is totally acceptable.”
Rachel said she was quickly hooked on improving her times as a freshman, but it wasn’t until her junior year when she first became a team captain that she started running consistently faster.
“I truly started dedicating myself to the sport,” she said of her junior season. “That was the year Trent was a freshman, so meets became a family event that everyone was excited for.”
Trent also finished the season with three victories this fall. The first came Sept. 5 at Chopticon, crossing the line in 18:30, then, on Sept. 12, he finished in 19:10 and, on Oct. 17, improved his time to 17:26 at La Plata.
Trent finished second out of 55 runners with a time of 17:17 at the Southern Bulldog Invitational. He ran a personal-best 16:42 at the SMAC championships on Oct. 24, finishing fourth overall, and captured the 2A South Region title a week later with a time of 16:57.
“I first followed in Rachel’s footsteps,” Trent said, “and decided to do cross country. Once I realized I had potential, I developed a passion for running as well as a passion to train hard and get better. My favorite race was the SMAC [regular season] meet at Huntingtown where Rachel and I both finished first. This race showed our work together during the summer paid off.”
The siblings went to the Smokey Mountain Running Camp at UNC-Asheville last summer and both said they gained more knowledge of the sport.
“This camp, along with coach Mably taught us this approach, which includes preseason long runs, recovery, healthy foods, and stretching.” Trent said.
Outside of SMAC competition, the two enjoy participating in a fundraising event for the community, including the Pi Run to raise money for the program. They’ve also participated in the Solomons Jingle Bell Run and the event to benefit the Humane Society of Calvert County.
“It helps to have someone there to motivate and support you, whether that comes in the form of a team, a running club, or even a sibling.” Rachel said.