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Gavin Grass will attend George Fox University in the fall and will compete in cross-country and track.

DALLAS — Before he started running cross-country for his middle school, Gavin Grass didn’t even know that the sport existed.

“My Dad asked me if I would be interested in track and cross-country, and I had never actually even heard of cross-country up until that point, but I had nothing else going on in the way of sports so I thought, sure why not?” Grass said.

Finishing the mandatory PE mile “that every student dreads” at the top of his PE class is where Grass was first introduced to running, but he’s always loved being active.

“Growing up I was always on my bike and I always loved watching the movie ‘Cars’ and thinking about racing,” Grass said. “When I started running, I found it to be astounding at first — one minute you’re here, the next you’re on the other side of town. Getting to use my legs to go distances most people don’t want to try; it’s that little thing that’s just me — me and the trails. I enjoy the freedom it offers.”

Training with his team was another aspect of the sport he enjoyed.

“It was always a highlight, getting to come out and run with my crew. It was always a blessing, even on the rainy days,” he said.

In a race during his sophomore year, Grass said one of his teammates was running the 3,000-meters race, “and halfway through, one of his shoelaces gave out,” Grass said. “Without even thinking, he just flings his foot in the air and the shoe goes 10 feet in the air in front of the grandstands. He went on to break his personal record that day without that shoe, earning the title ‘The One Shoe Wonder.’”

He’ll miss moments like that.

“Just getting to be a part of it all was something special, and I’ll miss that,” he said. “Just getting a chance to run with my teammates, compete in the races and run my heart out.”

There was a particular meet he was really looking forward to for this season.

“It was notable for the different relay events it was going to offer, 4x200, 4x800, the distance medley; I would have loved to participate in some of those for the team aspect of it,” Grass said.

His goals going into the final season of his high school track and field career included “break(ing) four minutes in the 1,500-meters, break two minutes in the 800-meters race, and nine minutes in the 3,000-meters.

“We lost a lot of great sprinters and jumpers from last year, so I knew our team rank and strength might drop a bit,” he said. “But we had some great young athletes ready for their chance. Our distance crew had a few veterans; hopefully we could have helped make up some points.”

And while Grass won’t have the chance to pursue those goals under the Dragon emblem anymore, he’s using this time to focus on the future.

“I was definitely disappointed to be sure, but with it also came a chance to look beyond that and focus on the college level coming up this fall,” he said. “After graduation, I actually plan to keep running. I’ll be heading off to George Fox University in Newberg to run Cross-country and Track. The next four years of college are going to be great, and I can’t wait.”

He said not too much has changed for him these past few months, other than school being canceled.

“I’ve found it easy to actually just continue my plans, business as usual, as apart from going to school daily, they weren’t changed too dramatically.” he said. “I’ve just been training for this fall, getting ready to graduate, seeing my friends — whether gaming online or in person, distanced of course. We all have been getting by, and all I can think about is what comes next, after all of this is over.”

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