Athlete of the Year: Sharks’ Krier making major strides

Billy Krier never considered running competitively until his freshman year in high school. Now it seems to be the sport that’s best suited for him.

The rising senior at St. James High grew up playing soccer and other stick-and-ball sports until his first high school, Thomas Jefferson Academy in NC, added a cross country team for the first time in 2009.

Krier went out for the team and instantly became the fastest-improving kid on the squad. He transferred to St. James as a sophomore and hasn’t missed a step, earning the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Year award for boys cross country.

“I tried it out and I was known as the guy who never got tired of running,” recalled Krier, the two-time reigning Region VIII-AAA and Horry County champion. “Now it seems like this was my best sport all along. I’ve been working at it ever since.”

And the upward trend continued as Krier repeatedly shaved seconds off his time on the 3.1-mile course. After finishing a disappointing 40th in the Class AAA state championship in 2010, Krier cracked the top-five with a fifth-place finish in the fall.

“The year before I was running in the 17 to 18 (minute range) so I was really looking to improve my time,” said Krier. “I ran a 16:30 at states, so that was a big improvement. I pretty much trained year-round but it was worth it.”

Krier also runs track, placing third in the state in the 1600 meters (4:26.88), sixth in the 3200 meters (10:09.55) and helping the Sharks to a seventh-place finish in the 4×800 relay. Between the two seasons he takes part in an intensive summer training program to get ready for longer distances.

“This will be my last season in high school so I want to cut my time down to the mid-15s and maybe get a top-three finish,” Krier said. “But to be able to earn some scholarship money, my best bet is probably track running the 1600.”

Krier has received interest from several schools about running track and cross country in college, but he has his mind set on an engineering degree and is willing to tryout as a walk-on to go to the school of his choice.

Given the ground he has already made up in three short years, it’s a safe bet Krier will land on his feet somewhere near the front of the pack.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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