By Jalyn Powell, MHS Student Reporter
This week’s Athlete of the Week displays what being a student athlete is all about. Fresh off an individual title at the Henlopen Conference Championship at Killens Pond State Park Saturday and also in the running as this year’s valedictorian, Milford High Varsity Cross Country runner Henry Phalen has proven himself on the course as well as in the classroom.
Passionate about running, Phalen realizes he’s a student first. “[Coach Czar] Bloom always tells us we are a student first, and I know I can’t get anywhere on just running,” said Phalen.
Phalen lives by this outlook as a student athlete and leads by example. His 16:42 career best he ran to win Saturday’s Henlopen crown ranks him as the fourth fastest MHS male in a five-kilometer race.
“Henry is probably the most disciplined athlete I`ve ever coached,” said MHS head Cross Country coach Czar Bloom. Phalen hopes to attend a Division I or II college and major in engineering.
Some of his teachers have already recognized his phenomenal efforts in his studies. “Henry is very intelligent, precocious, but not pretentious, and he’s a very humble individual,” said MHS English teacher Seth Buford. Mr. Buford wasn’t the only one who noticed Phalen`s academic ability, though. AP Calculus teacher, David Watson stated, “Henry is one of the top academic students in the most difficult math class at Milford High.”
Despite the books, Phalen is a player who is passionate about what he does and gives his all doing it. Phalen has shown massive team leadership and kindness, according to his teammates. He also faced a minor setback when diagnosed with mononucleosis midway through the race season, but after a short week-long absence, he was determined to keep running.
“Henry seems to come out on top no matter what his obstacles are,” said senior co-captain teammate Trevor Maloney. The MHS boys’ cross country team finished 10-2 during the regular season and finished third at Saturday’s Henlopen Conference meet. The Bucs competed in the Kent County Championship Monday, and they will conclude the 2012 season in the DIAA state championship on Nov. 10th at Brandywine Creek State Park.
“You have to push yourself beyond your limit and do things you never thought you could,” said Phalen as he anticipates his final race as a MHS cross country runner.