Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Tanner Norman, The Classical Academy track

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Photo - The Classical Academy track athlete Tanner Norman is The Gazette's Peak Performer of the Week. He was photographed at the school Monday, May 8, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
The Classical Academy track athlete Tanner Norman is The Gazette's Peak Performer of the Week. He was photographed at the school Monday, May 8, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Tanner Norman and his coaches hatched a plan several months ago to capture a state record.

This wasn't necessarily an "Ocean's Eleven" type heist. The plan was relatively simple - The Classical Academy senior would try to break the Colorado state high school record for any classification in the 3,200-meter run.

The place chosen was the Pueblo Twilight meet at Dutch Clark Stadium, and the date was May 5.

It was far from easy, but Norman emerged with a time of 9 minutes, 4.97 seconds, which was 0.92 seconds faster than the previous record, held by Brent Vaughn of 5A Smoky Hill, from 2003.

"It was over the winter, like February," Norman said of when the planning began. "Before the season started we laid out what the plan was, and we decided that this would be the best meet to go for it because it was late in the season and I'd be more fit than I was in March. The race was at night, so the conditions are almost always perfect in Pueblo."

Norman, an Iowa State commit, said he wasn't overly nervous in the months and weeks leading up to May 5, but on that day, he began to feel those nerves.

"I thought it was something that I could get after, and it was cool to do it," he said. "The half-hour following the race was really special. The entire field from the race went out and cooled off together and they were all congratulating me. It was special to get to share that moment with my competitors and my teammates who were in the race."

Norman was completely spent after crossing the finish line, and acknowledged that it was harder to accomplish than he could've imagined.

His track and field coach, Tim Daggett, and his cross country coach, Alan Versaw, were both holding their breath during the final few meters.

"At first, I didn't think he had done it, and then Alan came running over and said that he thought Tanner did it," Daggett said. "The distance community had an idea that there was a chance he set the record, but this wasn't something that we publicized too much."

With a state record in his back pocket, along with two cross country state titles and a Colorado Gatorade Runner of the Year award, there's only one thing left for Norman to cross off his high school list.

He finished second at the 4A state track meet in both the 1,600 and 3,200 runs in 2016. TCA was moved down to 3A for 2017.

"It would be icing on the cake to win two state titles, and to go out on top would be cool," Norman said. "Plus, the team is in the hunt for a title this year, so to score some points for the team would be really important. I'm hoping to go out with wins, and also get my teammates up on the podium with me."

Daggett wants to see his record-setter collect two state titles.

"It would be a nice finish for him," Daggett said. "As much individual praise as he's earned, he's still an extremely unselfish kid, and he'll be rooting for his teammates as much as he will for himself. He's a serious and focused, but humble kid."