PREP OF THE WEEK: Change of sports pays off for CML’s Dinius

CANBY – What started as training for another sport has become an obsession for Canby/Minneota/Lincoln Hi cross country runner Travis Dinius.

After three years of football, Dinius decided to give cross country a try. “The idea was to get into shape for wrestling,” he said, “and as I got more into it I realized it was my sport.”

Dinius started running cross country and track for the Lancers last year as a sophomore and has emerged as one of the team’s top runners. CML has participated in three meets this season with Dinius placing in the top 10 at each, including a third-place finish at the Tracy Invitational.

“His work ethic makes him a great role model for the entire team,” said head coach Beth Jessen. “You will never hear a complaint out of his mouth no matter how hard of a workout we are doing.”

Dinius has battled back this season after an achilles injury cut his season short in 2012. “He really worked hard to come back,” said Jessen. “Travis and his teammates ran all summer.”

Dinius and his teammates did unique workouts, such as pushing a truck four miles to get in shape for the 2013 season. “We didn’t want it to be all work and no fun,” he said.

“It’s hard to get kids to buy into the summer running, and the team really bought into it this summer,” Jessen said. “They worked really hard and got after it.”

The Lancers have interchanged their rankings within the team this season, finishing races with less than a minute between each of its top five runners.

Dinius uses his teammates as motivation instead of competition.

“If I see one teammate ahead of me I just really want to keep up with them,” he said. “As long we are doing fine as a team we are OK with whoever is first runner.”

Dinius credits his team’s success to the friendships they’ve built with each other. “It’s not just show up to practice, try to be friendly and go home,” Dinius said. “I don’t want anyone to feel left out.”

His younger sister, Natalie, also is a member of the CML cross country team. Her participation on the girl’s 2012 state qualifying team is motivation for Dinius.

“It’s pretty cool to have my sister on the team,” he said. “We run together on our days off and talk about how we did.”

Dinius’ personal goal for the season is to continue to improve each meet. “I like to get out hard and be in the front trying to hang on at the end,” said Dinius. “I am trying to work on having more kick.”

He also aspires to make it to state, both individually and with his team.