One week ago, South Western High senior Ryan Hertzog was not feeling so well.
One of District 3′s leading cross country runners, Hertzog was expecting a good finish at the PIAA Class AAA Cross Country Championships. Instead, a balky hamstring slowed the Mustang’s pace to an eventual 134th-place finish on the Hershey Parkview Course.
Fast forward one week, and Hertzog is back. On Saturday, he continued his domination of the annual Hawk Hustle 5K road race as he claimed his third victory in the event’s three years.
“That was a lot of motivation,” Hertzog said after his Hawk Hustle victory by 26 seconds over Biglerville High standout Brady Wilt. “I wanted to see if I could put up a fast time, seeing how I was tripped up at states.”
Hertzog said his hamstring buckled on a hill after the one-mile mark at Hershey, but he pronounced himself fit now, as if his rapid Hustle race time didn’t do the trick.
“This is a definitely a good day for me,” he said.
Hertzog was buoyed further that his hamstring held up in last Wednesday’s run, when he went to Geneva and joined that Beaver Falls college’s cross country team on an 8-mile run as part of his recruiting visit.
“I also went to Robert Morris, and I liked that a lot,” Hertzog said about the Northeast Conference university in Moon Township near Pittsburgh.
“And this was just a fun, little race I did,” Hertzog said about the Hawk Hustle, which capped his busy week.
Of course, it was fun. He keeps winning it.
“It’s a quick start. You have slight turns, but nothing too sharp, but then a little bit before the two-mile mark, there are hills,” Hertzog said about the course. “That’s where I can distance myself from the field. … I didn’t look back much.”
Now it appears the Hanover area will get its next look at an apparently healthy Hertzog at New Oxford, when he said he plans to enter Thanksgiving Day Community 5K Turkey Trot, scheduled at 8:30 a.m. at New Oxford Elementary School.