From the first day David Jacob started running at Medical Lake High School, it was apparent the Cardinals had someone special.
“He came in his freshman year with really a tremendous work ethic,” said Cardinal head coach Terry Meyer. “More than most athletes I’ve ever coached, he is driven to be the best he can be.”
Jacob has driven himself to be one of the top runners in the Great Northern League, winning the Medical Lake Invitational on Sept. 13.
“I won it the year before too, so it was pretty exciting,” said Jacob. “It was pretty cool.”
The junior also ran a personal-best 16:34 at the Silverwood Invitational earlier this season, as he looks to put himself among the elite runners in the state.
“This year I have higher goals,” Jacob said. “My goal is to be first or second at state this year in track and cross country.
“The years prior, I just wanted to make it to state and do well. This year I’m trying to shoot for the top. That’s what motivates me to do better this year.”
Jacob’s self-motivation is what sets him apart from other runners.
“For me, he is definitely, mentally, the strongest runner I’ve ever coached,” Meyer said. “He’s having some real challenges in our league this year.
“A couple guys from Colville worked extremely hard this summer and are giving him a great challenge. For a lot of kids, they would fold underneath that, but for him any kind of challenge is a great motivator for him.
“He looks ahead to who’s the best in the league, and it’s been that way since his freshman year.
“He does a lot of research as well,” continued Meyer. “He’s finding times of guys he’s going to be competing with, strategizing where he wants to be with them during the race.
“More often than not, if he’s up there with them, he’s going to give them a huge challenge at the end. He finishes very, very well.”
Jacob’s love for running began in his own living room.
“My dad was a runner,” said Jacob. “He ran around Medical Lake.
“When I was really young, I tried to run with him because it was fun for me. When it came to me as a sport, I was good at it, and I wanted to continue and have been doing it since.”
Jacob, who runs between 20 to 30 miles a week during the season, but up to 40 miles a week during the winter, is hoping his work ethic rubs off on his teammates.
“I have to set a good example for the younger guys on the team,” he said.
“As a junior this year, he’s learning how to lead in terms of how to motivate the athletes verbally,” Meyer said. “In terms of how he leads the team in workouts, there’s a whole group of young guys coming up this year. …We have about six freshmen, and they’re all looking to him and comparing themselves to where Dave was his freshman year.
“They’re gauging their workouts, how hard they’re working, by him. He has a lot of heart, and it tangibly rubs off on those younger guys.”
In addition to running track during the spring, Jacob is hoping to add to his sports repertoire this winter.
“I’m actually going to try something new,” Jacob said. “I’m going to try wrestling this year.
“People said I would do well at it, and I just think it would be fun because there’s a bunch of people I know in it. It will keep me in shape, too.”
No one will be surprised to see him succeed, either.
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