Dawn to Dusk: running down a dream

Photo by Krista Pylant

Photo by Krista Pylant

Krista Pylant
Sports Editor
@KristaPylant8

If senior Thomas Toth were to run from his hometown of Lakefield, Ontario, in Canada to Lawton, it would take him 1,500 miles, a distance he has already covered twice for cross country since August.

For the Cameron Cross Country captain, running is an everyday, disciplined process that drives his life.

Toth begins each day with an 11 mile run followed by drills, strides and reps in the weight room. After workouts, he heads to his classes at Cameron University.

Prior to attending Cameron, Toth was a highly recruited runner out of Lakefield District Secondary School. He weighed the options of attending Georgetown, Eastern Michigan and the University of North Carolina; however, a small fracture in his left foot derailed his plans of running for a Division I program.

Toth said, “Schools that were going to give me scholarships decided, ‘Oh well, he is a liability. If we take him, he will just take the free money in the program and never compete.’ So, I stayed with a very good program in Canada [Sir Sanford Fleming College] and won a national title. From there, I figured if I’m at the top of my game, I need somewhere else to go.”

While pondering the choices, a friend of Toth’s on the Cameron baseball team at the time told him about the athletic programs the university had to offer. After considering the strong collegiate level running competition Oklahoma provided, Toth decided to become an Aggie.

He arrived at CU in January 2012 after finishing his sophomore year of college in Canada. Although Toth redshirted during the fall 2012 and spring 2013 seasons, he made an immediate impact as an unattached runner by placing 7th in his first race at the MSU Stampede.

Competing at the collegiate level was a dream come true for Toth, who began running at the age of five after watching his older brother run cross country. He said the moment he realized he had the capability to take his talents higher occurred during his tenth-grade year at the district championships.

“I was running the 1500 in the morning and the 3000 at night,” Toth said. “I broke the district record, but the 3000 was the one that stood out to me because I’ve always fancied being able to win a longer distance. Not many people are willing to push the pace, and being younger, I realized that maybe there is potential for me to compete at a higher level. I think I was ready.”

Since that day, Toth has added numerous accolades to his list of collegiate accomplishments. He is a five-time Lone Star Conference Runner of the Week, holds the 12th spot in top times for Division II runners and is the 2014 Lone Star Conference Champion.

Now that Toth is a senior, he hopes he can leave a legacy behind that inspires future Aggie runners to carry the torch.

“If I can succeed to the best of my ability and my team can as well, I think that will push other athletes to come along,” Toth said. “Success breeds success, and I think by bringing in better coaching, going to better meets and having better competition, we are able to step up.

“When I leave, I want athletes who are still here to think back on hours of hard work and dedication and the discipline I had and they are able to learn something from that and pass it on year by year. With the success we can have this season, I hope next season’s bar is raised.”

Although Toth’s career as an Aggie is soon coming to a close, his cross country career is not.  He is looking to join the professional ranks in the form of post-collegiate training groups to see how far he can take the sport.

“Trying to get to that position is my big goal because it would put me in a position to see where I can take myself,” Toth said. “At this point, I know I have years to develop and years to grow, but getting there is the tricky part.”

For now, Toth is going to focus on the present. After his classes are done for the day, he returns to the road for another 11 mile run, more drills, core and some stretching. The next day he is back up at 5 a.m., ready to repeat the whole process again.

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