SPRING HILL – There is not much that can stop Spring Hill junior Tommy O’Leary.
Even when he is sick, O’Leary has a way of pushing through that few possess, Spring Hill Broncos coach Brent Smitheran said.
O’Leary was one of three No. 1 runners the Broncos had on the season.
Braxton Dixon was the lead runner in two meets. Caleb Brueckner was the top runner in another meet.
The rest of the time it was O’Leary setting the pace.
“Tommy O’Leary was the most consistent of our top group,” Smitheran said. “He had the fastest seasonal best, and the best season average.”
O’Leary was an all-league and all-regional performer. He also represented the Spring Hill Broncos in the Class 5A state meet at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence.
O’Leary is the Tri-County Spotlight Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
O’Leary showed just how tough he is during the Louisburg Invitational.
“At Louisburg this season, he wasn’t feeling well,” Smitheran said. “He just kind of hung on to the lead group that day until about a quarter of a mile left to go.”
O’Leary had to stop on the course and throw up.
O’Leary was feeling better after that, but he had lost 30 yards on the lead pack.
“After getting back control of his body, he gave chase,” Smitheran said. “He caught and then passed the group in the final 100 yards of the race.
“All I could do was shake my head in disbelief at what I had just watched,” Smitheran said. “He, without a doubt, wanted it more than anyone else that day.”
O’Leary is in his second season with the Spring Hill cross country program. He is already a state qualifier and all-league and all-regional performer.
“Tommy joined the cross country team as a sophomore,” Smitheran said. “It took him half of that season to really discover what he could do and how hard he could push himself.
“I remember wishing we had a few more meets with him last year,” Smitheran said. “He was really getting things figured out when our season came to an end. I think that feeling resonated in him, too.”
O’Leary worked hard in the off-season, putting in the miles to keep pushing his pace.
He was ready to pick up where he left off when August came around.
“He came into this season ready to get back to that level as quickly as possible,” Smitheran said. “He did that and then some.”
O’Leary set a new personal record in the second meet of the season and kept shaving time off after that, Smitheran said.
“Tommy eclipsed his personal record from last season at just our second meet this season,” Smitheran said. “He then went on to better it by 47 seconds.”
O’Leary ran a personal record time of 17:05 on the season, landing him first on the Tri-County Spotlight Boys Cross Country leaderboard.