Boys cross country runner of the year
Name: Mike Howard
School: Canyon del Oro
Year in school: Senior
Sport: Boys cross country
From the archives: Mike Howard of Canyon del Oro made the most of his one season running cross country in Tucson.
Howard had the best showing of any Southern Arizona runner at the 5A state meet earlier this month, finishing fourth in a time of 16 minutes, 28 seconds.
Howard, a Canyon del Oro senior, and his family moved from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, during the summer after his father took on a new job.
A proven runner on the Chicago cross country scene, Howard, the 1999 Arizona Daily Star Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, quickly made his move against the Southern Arizona competition. Howard finished second at regionals, one second behind Sierra Vista Buena's Nathan Franz.
Howard was not too thrilled with the finish.
"It was OK, not too disappointing," Howard said. "But, I did not reach my goals."
Howard's goals were high for a reason: He had posted better times during his junior year in Illinois.
The times were the first thing that CDO cross country coach Rick Glider knew about his new runner.
"The first week of August, he called my house a couple of times," Glider said. "I called back and talked to his mom, who told me some of his times.
"I thought, 'OK, I can deal with this. This looks real good.' "
Howard lived up to the hype, setting four course records during the season.
Most impressive is that Howard accomplished this while making a somewhat smooth transition from the cool, grassy courses in Chicago to the the rougher terrain and hotter weather in Tucson.
"I talked to him about the heat," Glider said. "If it was a problem, it did not show much."
Glider is disappointed that he will only get to coach Howard once.
"I would have loved to work with him for four years." — Joel Flom, 1999