Aggie runner dillon maggard is rewriting usu record book deseret news electricity and magnetism worksheets

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From the trailhead just off of U.S. Highway 89, the Jardine Juniper Trail starts out gradually, slowly gaining in elevation as it heads north. But about halfway to what is believed to be one of the oldest Rocky Mountain juniper trees in existence, the trail suddenly becomes much steeper, heading up the mountainside via a set of switchbacks that significantly slows down the average hiker or mountain biker.

Similarly, Maggard’s journey to a place among the country’s elite harriers started off quietly and rather slowly. But once the Washington native learned to leave some vices and distractions behind and focus on running, the climb to the top has been rapid and stunning.

“When you have someone that has great talent and is able to have the work effort and dedicate themselves to running — making it a big part of their life — special things can happen, like they have with Dillon,” USU cross-country/distance coach Artie Gulden declares.

If it was 1992, it would come as little surprise that Dillon Maggard grew up in the Seattle area. In addition to a beard and a generous selection of tattoos, he hasn’t cut his hair since he was a freshman at Utah State, leaving him only a flannel shirt away from looking like a grunge rocker aiming to be the next Eddie Vedder or Chris Cornell.

Add in the presence of some braces and the fact he’s nearly always around the front of the pack during a race, and the senior runner out of Lake Washington High in Kirkland is very hard to miss. Especially during those races when he elects to leave the hair down.

“In previous years I would tie it up for the short events, and leave it down for the longer ones because I wouldn’t be dealing with milliseconds,” Maggard explains. “But this year I’ve pretty much had it tied up because sometimes it does get in the way a little bit.

The son of Stephanie Price and Eric Maggard, Dillon took the long way to becoming a champion long-distance runner. After getting into some trouble with his parents in high school, his father told him he needed to get involved in a winter sport, “so, he basically forced me to do swimming.”

Then, as part of dry-land training for swimming, he and his teammates would run a mile each week. After starting out with a time of 6:10, Maggard dropped about 10-15 seconds each week until the assistant swim coach, who doubled as the head track coach, suggested he join the track team, as well.

With an assist from his father, Maggard ended up on the radar of longtime USU cross-country coach Steve Reeder. And after a recruiting trip to Logan that included a trail run up nearby Green Canyon with former Aggie Eric Shellhorn, Maggard says “it just felt right.”

Maggard’s collegiate career got off to a difficult start, however. Just months after retiring following 35 years as a coach at Utah State, Reeder died in January 2016 while visiting his cabin in Star Valley, Wyoming. And during his freshman year and through the cross-country season of his sophomore year, Maggard openly admits that he lacked focus and hit “rock bottom” due to alcohol abuse.

“I didn’t have good habits going into college, and then having all of that freedom, I was partying a lot as a freshman and then the beginning of my sophomore year,” Maggard says. “So, I got into some trouble with my coaches, but Coach Gulden was there for me and tried to steer me in the right direction. He said, ‘You just can’t be drinking if you want to be a good distance runner. They just don’t go together.’”

After finishing 41st at the Mountain West Cross Country Championships, Maggard says he had “a few beers” to celebrate, but then got together with Gulden and proposed that he come up with a contract Maggard could sign that would state he wasn’t going to drink for the rest of his collegiate career.

Since that time, Maggard has practically rewritten the record book for USU long-distance runners. He finished 12th at the NCAA National Cross Country Championships in 2016, then took sixth as a senior last fall — the highest finish ever by an Aggie harrier. Maggard has the fastest indoor mile time (4:01.25) in school history, and picked up two first-team All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in March by finishing fifth in the 3,000 meters and also placing fifth in the distance medley relay with teammates Clay Lambourne, Jordan Beutler and Brady Martin.

Jeff Hunter After earning All-America accolades during the indoor season, Utah State long-distance runner Dillon Maggard is currently ranked fourth in the nation in the 5,000 meters heading into the NCAA West Preliminary this week in Sacramento, California.

This spring, Maggard has been gearing up, not only for the end of his collegiate career, but also for a potential pro career afterward. While he was “bummed” about finishing second in the 5,000 meters at the Mountain West Championships, he ran a 13:30.02 on May 4 in the 5,000 at the Stanford-hosted Payton Jordan Invitational. Although he finished 15th, the time beat his own school record by 11 seconds and was the fourth fastest time in the NCAA this season.

Maggard, who graduated from USU on May 5, is now focused on the NCAA West Preliminaries this week in Sacramento, California, and the NCAA Outdoor Championships in early June in Eugene, Oregon. He plans to compete in both the 10,000- and 5,000-meter races in Sacramento, an ambitious Thursday-Saturday effort.