TIPP CITY, Ohio (WDTN) - "There were a 199 boys in my race," recalled Sam Wharton, a cross country runner at Tippecanoe High School in Tipp City.
Last weekend, Wharton beat all of them on a Portland, Oregon course that could only be described as a muddy mess.
"I think the start was actually a pretty nice stretch," said Wharton. "It wasn't a slip and slide, but then once you got out on the course, it was just sloppy".
Sam won the 3.107 mile long race in just over 17 minutes. That is almost two minutes slower than when he won state.
"I ran 15:09 at state and a 17:06 at nationals. It was the happiest, slowest race of my life," Wharton joked.
Sam's coach, Byron Kimmel, said the win is a testament of his star runner's dedication.
"His pain threshold is incredible," said Kimmel. "Those kids are under a lot of mental and physical duress and that's what separates him from the pack".
Kimmel said Wharton's win extends far beyond the record books.
"There's kids talking about him in the hallways. I teach 6th grader and there's kids asking about him, cross country and how far it is," added Kimmel.
For Wharton the new-found fame is humbling.
"To come back here and to have the support from the entire community it was just really really special," he said.
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