Spring Lake track and field coach Greg Brown knew coming into this season that senior Austin Elliot was an athlete that always loved to run. Brown had coached Elliot for four years in cross country, but hadn't seen him on the track in the spring since his freshman year.
"I went out for golf for two years," Elliot said during Friday's Lakes Eight Conference Meet at Orchard View High School. "I've just always loved golf. But after my junior year, I started thinking to myself, 'You know, I've ran four years of cross country, why don't I try track again?'
"I decided I wanted to be the best as I could be as a runner."
Brown said he kept his expectations grounded on the impact Elliot would make upon his return to the Lakers' track team this season. Really, the chances of Elliot becoming a dominant contributor probably rested somewhere between slim and none.
To put in bluntly, Elliot had packed on a few pounds prior his senior year and wasn't in the shape expected of a high school distance runner. The 5-foot-11 Elliot was never truly obese, saying the most he weighed coming into his senior season of cross country was over 180 pounds.
But in a sport where a few pounds can make a world of difference, Elliot knew he needed to make some tough choices.
"I just changed my lifestyle," he said. "I knew I had to change."
Elliot said he began eating better, eliminating pop from his diet and trying his best to stay away from desserts.
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