HENDERSON — Crossroads Christian sophomore Brady Bargfrede became the first cross country runner in school history to earn All-State honors after he placed 11th among 1A boys in the NCISAA 1A State Championships on Oct. 29
Although Bargfrede is the only runner in CCS’ cross country program, he has embraced the unique circumstances surrounding him at the school and was thrilled to see all of his hard work pay off with a strong performance in the state championships.
“This feels really good,” Bargfrede said. “I’ve been grinding all year to get into at least the top 11, so this is a dream come true.”
When Bargfrede first joined CCS’ cross country team, he knew it would take time and patience for him to meet the physical demands of the sport so he could perform at his maximum potential, but he gradually grew more comfortable during his first season and was eager to start his sophomore campaign.
Consistency was a common theme throughout the 2020 season for Bargfrede, as he never finished below 11th in a 5,000-meter race. His best performance came during the Mid-Carolina Conference Championships on Oct. 19, where he ended up placing third with a time of 19:43.
Bargfrede carried over the momentum from the Mid-Carolina Conference Championships into the NCISAA 1A State Championships at Metrolina Christian Academy. He improved on his showing in 2019 by 17 seconds with a time of 20:27.4, enabling him to secure All-State honors.
“I had a lot of faith that I would [earn All-State honors] this year,” Bargfrede said. “I practice every day by running outside my home, but something like this is just unbelievable.”
CCS athletic director Scottie Richardson praised Bargfrede for proudly representing the school’s developing cross country program, but he was also thrilled to see so many people support Bargfrede as he put down one great time after another.
“When you’re having to train by yourself and not have that team camaraderie or the competitiveness that comes from jockeying for position every day in practice, you have to be strong mentally and physically,” Richardson said. “You’re basically racing against the last time you raced, but Brady has brought so much excitement to our school, which has rallied around him and his individual success.”
Richardson first met Bargfrede back in 2018 when the latter was a member of CCS’ middle school soccer team. He commended Bargfrede for putting in the necessary commitment to mature off the field and become a standout athlete at CCS.
“The running has really helped Brady personally,” Richardson said. “He was one of those kids that would cut up in middle school and blended into the crowd, but now his self-esteem has really improved and now he’s in the same breath as some of our top players on campus, which is great to see.”
Richardson added that Bargfrede’s success during the 2020 season drew a significant amount of interest in cross country from the student body, and anticipates having enough athletes to field a full roster alongside Bargfrede as he embarks on his junior season.
Bargfrede is looking forward to having teammates for 2021 and hopes that having more people around will enable him to push himself more in practice and find that extra speed to pick up a few victories against the best runners in the NCISAA 1A division.
“Teammates would definitely be nice so that we can learn from one another,” Bargfrede said. “My goal is to get better and build strong relationships with those people. I’m proud of myself for getting as far as I did this year, but I hope to be 10 times better next year.”