The Gazette Boys’ Track Peak Performer: Tanner Norman, TCA

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Photo - TCA distance runner Tanner Norman is the Peak Performer of the Year for boys track (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)
TCA distance runner Tanner Norman is the Peak Performer of the Year for boys track (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

Past disappointments and falling short of personal goals have served as motivation for Tanner Norman.

That translated into quite a sendoff for the TCA senior distance runner.

“This year was pretty good,” said Norman, the boys’ track and field Peak Performer. “I set my goals pretty high, and I used any frustration of coming up sort as fuel. I can’t think of anything I missed out on. This year, I’ve been pretty lucky. I’ve gotten to do everything and maybe a little more.”

Norman, on the heels of winning his second straight state cross country title last October, continued that momentum into the spring, focused on winning the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, events he finished second the season before at the state meet in Lakewood.

He did that, claiming victory in the 3,200 in a 3A state-meet time of 9 minutes 14.45 seconds, helping the Titans to a runner-up finish in the team standings. He also stood on the podium’s top step after winning gold in the 1,600.

Prior to state, on May 5, Norman set a state all-class record by clocking a time of 9:04.97 in the 3,200 at the Pueblo Twilight at Dutch Clark Stadium.

And to think that one year ago, Norman’s best time in the eight-lap race was more than 30 seconds slower. As a freshman, he could barely break the 10-minute plateau.

“He got markedly better through high school,” Titans distance and cross country coach Alan Versaw said. “That’s the kind of progression you like to see. Actually, that is staggering when you think about it. Normally, you see that tailing off in improvement. Where does that come from? That underscores how hard he works.”

That hard work continues into the summer as he prepares for a college career at Iowa State.

But first, he’ll see where he stacks up with the nation’s best at the Brooks PR Invitational, June 17 in suburban Seattle.

To put his state-record effort in perspective, his mark in Pueblo was 14 seconds slower than the winning time in the 3,200 in last year’s Brooks event.

“To show up to a meet like that, you’re just a face in the crowd,” Norman said. “It can be humbling, but it’s always a good experience to go and do something like that. It’s cool to meet new people.”

And he’ll meet plenty of new people in Ames, people who likely could beat him out for a spot on the team this season.

But that’s OK with Norman. He knows what happens when his high standards aren’t met.

“I have to sit down with the new coach and figure things out,” Norman said. “My goal this year is to get better and stay healthy. I might go in and make the team. If not, that’s fine. I have an extra year to develop, and I can use that to get better.”