Todd Dickerson, the Fort Gibson cross country coach, has had a bird’s eye view of how Caden Goss goes about his business.
“He puts in a ton of work. One of the state’s best regimens of getting his body ready,” he said about this year’s Phoenix Male Athlete of the Year in the sport. “Early mornings, lots of miles. He just works at it.”
That work cut more than a minute off his state time as a sophomore, going from 17 minutes, 42 seconds to a Class 4A 5K championship time of 16:15.81, that coming on a muddier surface at a rain-soaked Gordon Cooper Technology Center course in Shawnee that made a hilly course even more difficult.
He was 14th as a sophomore. Now, he’s the first Fort Gibson runner to win state gold in the sport.
“(The conditions) affected my time but it was still a pretty good time on that course because it’s already tough as it is — pretty hilly,” Goss said.
His training mix involved speed work of 1K to 2K repeats twice a week and then some 400s, or shorter stuff such as 200 to 400 five times just to get the legs turned over. In between, he said, he would have easy runs such as seven separate miles at a 7- to 7 1/2-minute pace to help the body recover. Combine that with long runs increasing in speed by the mile, and some light weights and strength work a couple times a week, and there you have it.
“All total, up to about 50 miles a week on average,” he said.
Goss won seven of 10 meets this year. One of those he didn’t was the Chile Pepper Invitational at the University of Arkansas, a 35th place finish against 770 other runners from multiple states and classifications. Jackson Salsman of Mount St. Mary’s, who edged him for the state title in last spring’s 4A 3,200 run but moved up to 5A this year in cross country, ran a 16:54.5 to Goss’s 16:14.
Not bad for a guy who started running in third grade.
“I didn’t actually start really kicking it ’til around seventh and eighth grade when I was one of the faster ones and I liked the success, and it propelled me to where I’m at today,” he said.
He credits his parents, Dean and Michelle, for their part in those years.
“Couldn’t have been where I’m at without them and my coaches,” he said.
Pitt State and Rogers State have offered but his times, now into the Division I range, will bring about some other opportunities.