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Running with the Best: Fanning readies for Regionals, Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships

After a phenomenal senior season for the Three Forks High School Cross Country team, Bryon Fanning is not quite done with competition in 2023.

Fanning and several other members of the Wolves Cross Country team will be traveling to the NXR Northwest Regionals scheduled for November 11 in Boise.

Fanning, who finished third at the State Meet in Kalispell in October with a school record time of 16:07.68, said it was the most competitive season Class B has had in quite a few years.

"Placing third in a field of incredibly talented runners meant a lot to me. 'PRing' by over 30 seconds at the state meet boosted my confidence immensely, and I am hoping that will carry over to the offseason. I'm proud of the progress that I have made over the past few years. Thanks to my coaches and teammates for making that possible," Fanning said.

With the Nike Cross Regionals later this week, Fanning wanted to give a shout to Three Forks High School Assistant Coach Matt Robb for organizing the postseason practices and schedule.

"Without him, this would not have been possible," Fanning said.

After the successful MHSA season, Fanning said competing in postseason meets not only allows him to continue running but also awards him the opportunity to continue to improve and see what he can do against new competition.

"In my past few years of running, postseason travel has allowed me to visit places that I would not have been able to otherwise, such as Wisconsin, Texas, Boise, and Spokane," he said.

Since the state meet in October, Fanning feels his training has been going well.

"We've had a consistent group of runners at practice the past few weeks, and I'm excited to see what everyone can do. It's always better to run with other people, so that helps a lot," he said.

As far as the race, Fanning tries to avoid specific time goals because every course is different.

"That said, I'm hoping to stick toward the front of the pack and see what I can do. My goal is to place towards the front of the Division 1 race," Fanning said.

Following the NXR, Fanning will be racing at the USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in early December in Louisville.

Robb said Fanning was very close to earning All-American honors at last year's Junior Olympic meet, and within an hour of the race, the two were discussing goals for the 2023 season.

"One goal is getting All-American this year and running under 16 minutes. Both are right there, and he works harder than anyone else, so I know he can do it. He has a bright future ahead of him, and his running career has only started," Robb said.

Fanning plans on taking off a few weeks after the Junior Olympics race and then will begin training for the upcoming track season, as well competing at a few indoor meets in January and February.

Set to graduate in June of 2024, Fanning currently plans to continue his pursuit of running in college.

"At the moment, I am still deciding where I want to do so," he said.

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