East Marshall’s Kilborn signs with Indian Hills
LE GRAND — Though the cross country season ended with the state tournament last weekend, East Marshall senior Seth Kilborn won’t be done racing competitively any time soon.
The Mustangs harrier inked a letter of intent on Thursday to run track and cross country for Indian Hills Community College starting next year. After making everything official, Kilborn said it’s a surreal feeling knowing that he will be competing on a collegiate level.
“I couldn’t be more excited, if you had told little sixth-grade Seth that he was going to run in college I would have thought you were dumb,” Kilborn said. “The only reason I started running was because my dad ran at GMG in high school and he always enjoyed it so I thought I would give it a try. I’m not a very big guy, so football wasn’t really an option.”
While Kilborn may not be large in stature, he is large in voice and heart, something Trent Taylor, his coach at East Marshall, said was a huge factor in Kilborn being a part of four state-qualifying teams.
“Seth is attitude, he is the leader on the team that works hard every night,” Taylor said. “Probably going to be one of the hardest student athletes that we’ve had to replace.”
While Mustangs cross country will lose a leader, Warriors cross country will gain one, and Indian Hills head coach Scott Barnes, who was in attendance for the signing on Thursday, said Kilborn will make an immediate impact on the team next season.
“Seth is a guy that is going to come in and definitely have an opportunity to be in the top five,” Barnes said. “I think he will make a good transition, he’s put in the training, and in track I could see him doing a little bit of everything. He could run the 3,000 meters, he could do the mile and potentially go up to the 10,000 meters. I call him a little bit of a hybrid, he has the distance and the speed as well.”
While of course cross country will be his main focus, Kilborn said he is excited about contributing on the track teams too, especially the indoor track team.
“Cross is obviously my favorite sport but track is definitely my number two,” Kilborn said. “I like running 800s and miles and stuff so that’s an opportunity I’ll get, in college they have a full indoor track season and we only have like two indoor meets here, so I’m excited for that.”
Indian Hills has only had track for going on three seasons, but in that short time the Warriors have become a premiere team in the NJCAA.
“In track we are going into our third year and last year our men were 25th in the country indoors and 18th outdoors,” Barnes said. “That went really well, especially for a second year.”
Kilborn said the successful nature of the Indian Hills teams was just one thing that attracted him to the school.
“I went on a visit my junior year and the campus was super nice, like a little Iowa State almost, they have lakes all over the place,” Kilborn said. “Then I met coach Barnes and he was super nice and seemed to want me on the team so it kind of felt like I was part of the family already.”
Making the transition from high school running to college running is never an easy one, but Taylor said if anyone can make that transition smoothly, it will be Kilborn.
“He is going to run and get better because that’s his focus,” Taylor said. “He’s going to have his academic focus and he will have a focus working with the same group of guys and he will have a workout program that focuses on 12 months. He already puts in more time than just about anyone I’ve seen, but he’s now going to have that luxury to have a program that can cater to his needs over the course of 12 months.”
What gives Taylor that confidence in Kilborn’s ability, he said, is knowing the amount of work Kilborn has put into his running even before getting to East Marshall.
“I am really happy for Seth that he’s going to try this because of all the time he’s put in,” Taylor said. “Everybody thinks it’s just been four years, but he’s put six years worth of time in. He established this trend that we are currently seeing when he was in seventh grade, the group that he was running with was winning conference championships in middle school.”
This signing event has been a long time in the making for Kilborn, and after it was all over he said he hopes his success as a Mustang and ability to continue on to the next level helps inspire younger runners, just as runners like Caleb Benzing and Haley Fye inspired him.
“There are a lot of alumni from East Marshall that have gotten to run in college, and for me as a little freshman I looked up to them and wanted to do what they were doing,” he said. “I say this is the best thing I’ve ever been apart of because of the inspiration and I am part of the family. All of the lower classmen now, I am in that senior position so I hope that they think ‘wow, that’s really cool, I want to do that.’ Cross country at East Marshall is a big family, and I am glad I got to be a part of that.”