I didn’t qualify for NXN last year by one spot. Every single day this summer, I had that in the back of my mind. Keep pushing so I could get here. —Aidan Troutner

Aidan Troutner let last year’s heartbreak fuel this year’s dream, and in his first Nike National Cross Country championship, the Timpview senior won it.

With a look of disbelief, and a few mud splatters on his face, Troutner moved from fourth to first in the last 600 meters, crossing the finish line with a time of 15:03.83. He edged Southeastern champion Brodey Hasty, who was attempting to become Tennessee’s first Nike Cross Country champion, as he crossed in 15:05.88. Liam Anderson, California, was third with a time of 15:07.54.

In an interview after the awards ceremony, Troutner said failing to qualify for the race last season was his motivation leading up to this season, a season in which the BYU-bound runner didn’t lose a race, including the 5A state championship in October.

“I didn’t qualify for NXN last year by one spot,” Troutner said, the mud still on his face as he accepted his trophy. “Every single day this summer, I had that in the back of my mind. Keep pushing so I could get here.”

He told Dyestat that he never set out to win a national title.

“Winning a national championship is something I couldn’t even dream of until this year,” he said in an interview with Erik Boal, DyeStat editor. “I was just thinking at the beginning of the summer that I had to take control of myself, of my mileage, of my races. Everything had to be my own. I couldn’t rely on other people or let other people control my race. I had to control everything myself — my mileage, my workouts, my races, every single day up until now.”

He said his entire “season just flashed” before him and he heard someone yell that there were just 600 meters left in the race. That’s when he gave the race everything he had, and fortunately, it was enough to win.

Troutner’s victory means the championship stays with a Utah runner. His future BYU teammate, Casey Clinger, won back-to-back NXN titles when he was competing for American Fork High School.

Troutner, who didn’t lose a race in his senior season, plans to serve an LDS mission before heading to BYU.