Tompkins cross country athlete Cole Lindhorst, left, competes at the state meet last November in Round Rock.

Tompkins junior Cole Lindhorst begins every summer morning running with several teammates as they work toward the start of another cross country season, one they hope finishes with a medal at state in Round Rock in November.

Lindhorst said the length of each morning’s run depends on what’s planned for that day.

“Most of the time, it’s six miles, but it can be up to 11 miles. Some guys may go longer or shorter,” Lindhorst said. 

A normal regular cross-country meet run is five kilometers, or a little bit more than 3.1 miles.

“Some of the days, we run both in the morning and later in the afternoon, going out about 7 p.m., when it begins to cool off,” Lindhorst said.

Lindhorst figures to be an anchor for the Falcons’ boys team after a stellar sophomore campaign.

Lindhorst helped the team to a fourth-place finish at the state cross country meet in November. He finished 10th to help boost the Falcons’ standing.

At the state track and field meet in the spring, Lindhorst placed eighth in the 3200 meter run with a time of 9 minutes, 35.87 seconds, and seventh in the 1600-meter run with a 4:18.2.

“As a sophomore last year, Cole stepped up for us,” Tompkins boys cross country coach Walt Yarrow said. “In the larger meets, it’s really valuable for a team to have what’s called the low-pointers —  top-10, top-15. Super valuable from a team’s competition standpoint. He really helped us with the 10th place finish at state. Cole has shown the potential that he can do the same this year, and better.”

Lindhorst’s best time last season was 15:50 in the 5K that cross country runners run.

Running is in the genes of the Lindhorst family.

His mother and father were college runners at the Air Force Academy. Cole said his dad ran in the World Championships and the National Championship in cross country. His mother ran track at the Air Force Academy as well.

Lindhorst jokes now, however, that he can get the better of both.

“My dad’s old and slow now, can’t keep up,” Lindhorst said, laughing. “My mom can’t really keep up, either.”

Lindhorst began running in the sixth grade.

“My junior high coach used to get me out; we used to do a mile every Monday, and he would time me,” Lindhorst said. “I did a lot of club stuff that year also.”

One of Lindhorst’s priorities is getting his sister, Riley, to run. So far, she has elected to not stray from the soccer pitch.

Lindhorst’s focus as a sophomore last year centered on his individual performance. He wanted to earn more points to help his team’s standing. That means placing as high as possible individually.

“Last year, I really started focusing on the team aspect,” he said. “I thought about my teammates. You get kind of complacent when you are at the state meet as young as a sophomore. The whole team aspect pushed me through it. Sophomores don’t make the state meet very often; you don’t have much to prove, I’m racing against a bunch of seniors. I don’t need to beat them, but you really do need to beat them if your team wants to place high. So you learn to push harder … harder than you already have done.”

Although Lindhorst hasn’t run a 5K distance yet in practice this year, Yarrow said his practice runs have been night and day better than last year.

“I’m putting in more mileage than I did last year,” Lindhorst said. “I am a lot more prepared than I was last year.”

Lindhorst has accomplished this while recovering from a lower leg injury he suffered while playing for the Falcons’ basketball team last season.

In the meantime, one of the distance running skills he has worked on most this summer has been aerobic development.

“These past few years, I have been more like a track running kid. I have a lot of speed,” he said. “Something I always needed to work on was my aerobic development; I never have run that many miles. But I have really upped miles a lot, started developing a bigger base.

"I am always trying to improve on something, set little goals throughout the summer, always trying to hit my goals.”