CUT BANK — Having track season canceled last year was devastating news for Browning's Jeremy Bockus. But rather than sitting around feeling bad about it, Bockus got straight to work.
In two track meets this year, Bockus has won all of his races, including personal records in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs. His 2:08.39 in the 800 and 4:47.27 in the 1,600 are each in the top-five fastest times in Class A.
Not bad for the junior, after missing all of last year and having a painfully short cross country season last fall.
"It feels great to be back on the track. I put in some work over the offseason, it's paying off," Bockus said. "I was pretty upset. I was kind of sad during the summer ... but when I got to cross country season, it felt good to be back around and competing."
Browning distance coach Roy McNabb has had his eye on Bockus since Bockus’ freshman year, and he saw the potential.
"Freshman season, he had the will, he had the heart. But he didn't have the coaching, he didn't have offseason program, strength program," McNabb said. "So I took him under my wing, we started running together, building base mileage and building the mentality, building a strong mentality to put up with the hard days."
And there are plenty of hard days, but Bockus appreciates it.
"They're really nice and they're really good at the job. They motivate us to run. It feels good to have coaches like them," he said of the coaching staff.
So far, Bockus’ times are among the best in Class A, but he hasn’t qualified for state in either race yet. But coach McNabb hasn’t started speed workouts either, so he expects Bockus to be a finalist on the podium at the State A meet in Laurel on May 28-29.
"I try and get as many runners as I can and show them exactly what it takes to be on that podium. Talent without discipline doesn't go nowhere, right? He has both the discipline and the talent, which is what makes him stand out among his peers," McNabb said.
Browning was set to compete in the annual Cal Wearley Memorial Meet in Havre on Wednesday, but the meet was postponed. Browning's next meet will be Saturday, April 10 in Havre.