Blue Springs, Mo. - Running is something that has become a big part of Blue Springs cross country runner Victor Mugeche's life.
Victor won the Missouri Class 4 Boys Cross Country Individual Sub-Gold, and last week, he finished second overall in the Class 4 Boys Individual State Championships. To top it off, Mugeche finished 13th in the Nike Cross Regionals last week where he competed against runners from several different states in the Midwest.
It's certainly been a great year for Victor. And, he was excited to be named this week's Hy-Vee 41 Five-Star Athlete of the Week.
"It definitely feels great. I'm so honored and so thankful for it," Victor said. "Definitely a lot of training, a lot of miles and a lot of hard work put in with me and my teammates. And, [it] definitely wasn't easy, but it's something I'm proud of and, I'm happy to achieve."
Blue Springs boys cross country head coach Frank Gallick has seen a lot of runners become a part of his team. He also coaches the long distance & track team at Blue Springs High School. Gallick has been a cross country coach for 22 years, with 12 of those being at Blue Springs and 10 years as the Wildcats head coach. He's even had a chance to coach Victor's brother.
"I try to treat each individual separately. You know, his brother was outstanding when he was here," Gallick said. "They both have done a great job. And, the one common characteristic they both have is that they are both very hard workers. And, the family is just phenomenal. They're so supportive."
Victor's brother, Stephen Mugeche, won the Missouri Class 4 Cross Country State Championship for Blue Springs in 2014 with the fifth-best time in state history. Victor says his great uncle used to run as well. He said his parents are from Kenya - a country with a rich history of running excellence. However, Victor certainly wants to leave his own mark at Blue Springs and create his own legacy.
"Definitely the amount of work we put on in the summer, a lot of teams aren't doing stuff until later on," Victor said. "After track season, we take a short break and we get back into and a lot of us are really committed. We love to run. And, I think that's what sets us apart from a lot of runners at other schools."
Coach Gallick has coached Victor for three years and has seen continued growth in him.
"He's really done a great job progressing each year especially from his freshman year to this year. [He's] really having a big breakout this year," said Gallick. "And, I kind of saw it coming. His freshman year, he wasn't quite sure what all to expect with all that was going on. But, through hard work and consistency, that's the number one thing I always emphasize to them is consistency. And, it's really starting to pay off [for Victor]."
NOTE:The Hy-Vee 41 Five-Star Athlete of the Week segment airs every Thursday night during the 10 p.m. sportscast for the entire school year.