The Meadowdale junior sprinter and high-jumper worked in the offseason to improve his time and judging by his early season performance, the extra work has paid off in a big way.
Kilcup's season-best time of 10.88 seconds came in his first race of the season against Lake Stevens and Edmonds-Woodway on March 14. Nearly a month later, it is still the fastest Class 3A time in the state and the second fastest time in any classification.
"I wasn't expecting to break out a 10.88," Kilcup said. "But I knew I was a lot faster so I kind of expected to have a better time than I did last year."
Today, Kilcup gets a chance to put his time up against some of the better sprinters in the state at the Larry Eason Invitational at Snohomish High School. Runners from all classifications will be at the annual invite hosted by the Panthers.
"I'm pretty nervous, I'm not going to lie," Kilcup said. "But my goal is to just run my race and hopefully come out on top."
Some of Kilcup's stiffest competition this weekend should come from River Ridge's Dejuan Frye, Snohomish's Christian Linder and Edmonds-Woodway's Kort Kamacho. Frye's season-best is a 10.99, Linder's is 11.01 and Kamacho's is 11.03.
"I feel like a lot of people are wanting to beat that (10.88) time or prove that they can be faster than me or actually see what I'm capable of," Kilcup said. "I kind of have a target on my back, honestly."
Ultimately, Kilcup knows that these invites are just a gauge to see where everyone stands and an opportunity to prepare for the state meet in late May.
"I think the invites are just kind of bragging rights, but I think it helps you improve your time in the earlier season to become faster for regionals and prelims and state," he said. "It's almost like a preview to state really, just to kind of get the feel of how close it's going to feel to running against those top guys."
Meadowdale track coach Tony Perkins said runners can learn a lot from the invites they participate in throughout the season.
"When I ran in high school, these invites are what it is about to me," Perkins said. "They have all the state competitors there, even 4A, but for him to run in this will help him a lot. I always think it can either make or break an athlete, and with his personality and his drive, I think this will help him a lot. He's focused right now and he's pretty pumped about it."
In track, top times are often set late in the season as coaches gradually try to improve their athletes from meet to meet. However, Kilcup set the bar high in his very first race. He credited it all to his start, something he and Perkins work on in practice constantly.
"It was a really great start," Kilcup said. "Since then I've kind of had some bad starts."
Perkins said the focus is getting Kilcup out of the blocks as fast as possible.
"That's what I've really been focusing on, that first 30 meters of that 100," Perkins said. "Just staying low and keeping his head down. I think that has helped him a lot, his start itself."
Kilcup said he hopes his time of 10.88 isn't as good as it gets. He is working hard to improve on that time and even hopes to match some of Perkins' times from when he competed in high school.
He's a big influence," Kilcup said. "He pushes me. I want to beat some of his times, be as fast as him, faster than him."
Kilcup isn't far off. Perkins' best time in high school was right around 10.60. But in order to do better that, Kilcup said his start out of the blocks has to improve and get closer to where it was in the first race of the season.
"It's very attainable for him," Perkins said. "I was a 10.60. He is about a 10.80 right now. I would love to see him break my high-school records. That would be great. Records are meant to be broken and that's what I'm here for, to help him get faster."
Kilcup's emergence in the 100 meters is all the more impressive because sprinting hasn't always been his main focus.
"I actually trained to be better at high jump," Kilcup said. "That's my main event, but I ended up improving my 100-time drastically."
Kilcup is still working on improving and getting to state in the high jump, though his overall goals have changed some. This season, he now would like to make state and place in both the high jump and the 100 meters. His best jump this season is 6-2, placing him in a tie for 18th best in the state, seven inches off the leader.
And as far as the 100 goes, Kilcup isn't so much worried about his competition. His focus is on getting better and improving his time in each race.
"When I run my race I don't really think about the people in the lanes," Kilcup said. "It's kind of a race against the clock now. It's pretty much a race against the clock to have the fastest times once you get to state -- and when you get to state, beat everybody else."
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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