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Burnet’s Bennett enters final year in tip-top shape

Soon after the results of the 2022 Class 4A state meet, where he finished second in the 1,600 meters May 12, Burnet High School runner Hudson Bennett left the University of Texas at Austin’s Mike Myers Stadium more determined than ever to cross off what’s left on his list of goals going into his senior year.

Part of that was intensive training that turned into an extensive stay in Colorado during the middle of the summer of 2022.

“I spent 35 days (there),” he said. “I was running the entire time doing altitude training. This summer I set a goal to run every day and be the most focused. I think everything is working out.”

He said he enjoyed the natural beauty and the challenges of running through the woods and on the hills, which also helped him prepare to run for the Burnet cross country team. He has been the district and regional champion every year he has entered those races. He plans on improving on his fifth place finish at the 2021 Class 4A state meet where he clocked 15 minutes 56 seconds.

Altitude training isn’t new for college and professional runners. But Bennett noted he isn’t the only high school runner who participates in that type of training.

“I ran 60 miles per week,” he said. “I was really getting up there. I’m trying to stay ahead of my competitors. It makes you so confident when you go down to sea level. I love that feeling. I heard a lot of high school athletes are really successful. They had this jump from junior to senior year. They increased their mileage and they had a better cross country season.”

The reason for the altitude training is because of how it prepares the body with more energy to compete with better finishes at the end.

“There’s not as much oxygen up there,” Bennet said. “It’s like your body is struggling to adapt to it. Your body produces more red blood cells (that allows more oxygen to be carried to the tissues). You’re running for long distances. That’s why at the end of a run, you feel good while others are struggling. It’s just the icing on the cake,” he said. “The work is done in the summer. It sharpens you. You’ll feel really good when that last mark comes.”

Bennett repeated as the 3,200-meter Class 4A state champion thanks to finishing in 9 minutes and 22.86 seconds to break the school record and set a new personal best. He completed the 1,600 meters in 4:19.83, one second behind Angel Sanchez of Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis, who clocked 4:18.86. Sanchez finished second to Bennett in the 3,200 meters in 9:24.11.

Another item on Bennett’s to-do list is to commit and sign with a college program. He has been contacted by coaches at the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas, the University of Tulsa and others.

The son of David and Stacy Bennett will be a business major and plans on taking his five official visits during the fall.

“I think it’s fun,” he said. “It’s cool to talk with the coaches to see what it’s all about.”

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