Dakota Frank from Munford won the 4A AHSAA Cross Country State Championship in 16:00. We hear about the race, his running story, and what he'd eat for the rest of his life.
How does it feel to hit that PR plus a win on the biggest stage?
It feels great. I had been working all season for that one moment and I had a sense of relief as soon as I crossed the finish line. This was my first state title. I was excited because ever since 7th grade I had thought about how it would feel to be a state champion.
Walk through some of the high points of the race. Where were you hurting the most and when did you know you had it secured?
So the first 800m of the race I felt unusual. I usually feel good the first 800m but this time my legs felt weak. I assume it was just nerves. I felt slightly better at the 1.5 mile mark but I was dreading the "snake" turns coming up at the 2 mile. Throughout the entire race Joe Stevens from Ashville was leading the race until about 800m left. At the 2.5 mark in the race is when I started to pop out from behind the leader. My legs felt the worse they have ever felt but I knew that it would be worth it for the State Championship title. I ended up being about 4 seconds ahead of the second place. When I crossed the finish line I was very happy with my performance. If I had enough oxygen to yell I would have in excitement
What was the course like on the rain?
Luckily the rain had just started when the starting gun went off. So the rain honestly cooled me off. The course wasn't too muddy so I could deal with the terrain without any issues.
What got you into running?
I started out playing soccer which involved a lot of running. Then one day I decided to sign up for the JSU Nursing 5k. I'm not sure what my exact time was but it was around 26 minutes and I heard everyone saying that my time was impressive for my age. From there I heard about cross country which was "running through the woods". I was excited to participate. From there it all took off and my time progressively got better.
What other sports do you play?
I do XC, Outdoor track, Indoor track, soccer, and kicking for football.
What's your best field goal you've ever kicked?
The farthest field goal I've kicked ever is a 50 yarder in practice. But in-game, it was around 39- 40 yards I believe.
Do you want to run at the next level?
I do want to run at the next level if that opportunity arises.
How did you celebrate the State Championship?
After the State Championship my family and I and one of my friends went to Jim 'N Nicks to eat and afterwards I ate tons of Krispy Kreme donuts. I always eat a bunch of sugar after meets because I cut off sugar intake 3 days before meets.
Besides this, what's your favorite running memory?
Probably the time we ran at Oak Mountain and I saw a guy do a front flip into the creek. It has always been a memorable moment.
Aside from cutting out sugar before a race, what's your pre meet routine?
I usually eat high carb meals the day before and then that morning I eat biscuits or some toast. I usually have football games the night before so I usually go to sleep around 11:00.
Cross country or track?
I like cross country more because it doesn't get as boring. Track gets boring fast when you run 4-8 laps at a time
What's your favorite genre of music?
I listen to almost every genre. But when I'm running my favorite to listen to is rap.
Any go-to rap artists?
Not specifically. I like a lot of Polo G songs.
Where's your favorite running route?
I like running the Fort McClellan mountain bike trails. That's probably my favorite because of the diversity in the terrain.
What's your favorite movie?
Griswald's Christmas Vacation.
If you could eat anything for the rest of your life what would it be?
How special is it to represent Munford?
Knowing you're a smaller school and not really talked about compared to other bigger schools?
What makes you believe you deserve to be able to compete with anyone?
Oh it's a great feeling to get my school's name out there and bring more attention to it. Cross country is a sport where you don't need a large school to make a name for yourself. As long as you have the motivation to train and become great then you're able to become better than anyone else. You should be able to compete with anyone so you can compare yourself against those bigger schools and widen your variety of competition.