During the spring and summer, when the cross country season’s status was still unknown, C.B. Aycock’s Todd Gardner put in the work to make sure he was ready if he got the chance to compete.
When that opportunity came, the junior was prepared, and it was clear his offseason training paid dividends.
Gardner, who wants to attend the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, has helped guide the Golden Falcons through a most unusual season and is this week’s Male Athlete of the Week.
“I’d like to run at a Division I school goal. That’s one of my goals,” Gardner said.
Growing up, Gardner invested a lot of time running. He started off running 5ks with his dad, and he quickly grew to love running.
Coming from a family of runners, Gardner knew he wanted to run in high school. So, as a freshman, he joined the cross country team and never looked back.
He broke the freshman record for the 5k, which he can complete in 18 minutes, but Gardner is not satisfied, and he wants to break C.B. Aycock’s school record for the fastest 5k.
“My goal right now is to break the school record, which is I think 17:01, and I’m at 18 minutes, so that’s my goal,” Gardner said.
This season, Gardner has continued to shine as he came first at two East Carolina 3A/4A Conference meets this year. However, Gardner said he is happy just getting the chance to run with his teammates this season.
During his time on the cross country team, Gardner has become an incredible asset to the program because he is a hard worker and always runs the extra mile.
“The season has been pretty good, but there have been a lot of changes,” Gardner said. “As a team, we are all pretty close, so we cooperate well together,
“I love my guys, and we’re always getting better.”