Leon's Patrick Koon holds onto national leader time in day 1 of FSU Relays
Nearing the end of his junior year, Leon's Patrick Koon has written his name over and over again in Florida cross country and track lore.
He's won the 3A state individual cross-country title twice, is defending the Class 3A 3200 title, and has broken countless course, program, meet, individual and state records along the way.
Last spring, he became the fastest sophomore in state history at the FSU Relays, clocking an 8:58.30 time for a runner-up finish in the 3200. This season, already owning the fastest time in the country, Koon was aiming for history yet again, chasing the meet record at Friday's FSU Relays.
Koon dominated the field at Mike Long Track, winning the race with a personal-record time of 8:52.60 and setting a meet record by .10 seconds. The finish shaves about a second off his original PR, is now the new fastest time in the country, and was 11 seconds ahead of runner-up Belen Jesuit's Joshua Ruiz at 9:03.43.
"It's always nice to come out with a PR. It would've been nice to run a bit quicker, but hopefully, I can run a few more races this season and get a little quicker," Koon said.
While Koon is leading the nation by a wide margin (six seconds), he's not letting it get to his head as he understands that most of the country is still in the indoor season. Three of the top 10 3200 runners are from Florida, four are from California and two others are from Texas and Oklahoma.
However, one thing Koon does hold over a handful of runners is national competition in the early season.
Koon ran at the New Balance National Indoor meet two weeks ago, finishing fourth in the 5000 run with a time of 14:11.92.
"The indoor season just ended so not a lot of really fast people have had their outdoor season, but to run this solo is a really good feeling that I can go with other people, Koon said."
Coming out of the meet, Koon is focused on working on his closing effort, which he is hoping comes from the competition around him and in his own training. The FSU Invite helps in that aspect as it is the premier meet in the state, attracting teams come from as far as Miami to see how they match up against the rest of the state.
"This is the premier Florida race," Koon said. "You gotta come up and show out. This is where everyone in Florida comes to run a fast 32. It's a good day."
It hasn't been the easiest transition for Koon from cross country to track season.
He dealt with an injury that left him sidelined from Footlocker nationals, but he has adjusted more than adequately to the track scene. While he sits atop the Florida high school track world, the goal remains to get faster every day and defend the 3200 title.
"That's the goal. Get that down and try to get the mile as well," Koon said. "You just gotta keep working on the little things."
Jack Williams covers prep sports and Florida State athletics for Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @jackgwilliams.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Leon's Patrick Koon sets PR at FSU Relays, holds nation's best time