Patrick Djerf recognized as sixth most improved male cross country runner in Minnesota

Senior awarded through dedication, hard work


Megan Hoenie

Senior Patrick Djerf practices for Nike Cross Regionals Oct. 30. Djerf was recently named sixth most improved male cross country runner in Minnesota.

Talia Lissauer

After being named the sixth most improved male cross country runner in Minnesota, senior Patrick Djerf said he was proud to be recognized for the continuous work he put in during the summer.

“I was named as the sixth most improved male cross country runner in Minnesota this year,” Djerf said. “It feels really good to be recognized in this way, I did a bunch of training this summer for cross country. I knew that I improved a lot but I guess I didn’t realize how much I have improved in comparison to everyone else in the state.”

Djerf’s personal record (PR) this year was 19:39, dropping 6:32 from his PR time from 2018 at 26:11.

According to coach Chris Nordstrom, Djerf’s dedication over the summer helped him to succeed this season.

“It’s pretty neat to see how far Patrick has come,” Nordstrom said. “I know he took the next step this summer and he knew he wanted to put in some more work this summer and obviously it paid off.”

Djerf said he has been running for Park for five years and is typically recognized for his team spirit so he pushed himself all summer to make sure he got the most out of his senior year.

“The last five years I’ve won my team’s oriole spirit award for the boys’ team. This (award) is different because it is about my running performance instead of my contributions to the team as a whole,” Djerf said. “The idea that as a senior this would be my last chance to be on the cross country team and I didn’t want to waste it, that led me to work as hard as I could at each practice and fall in love with running even more.”

According to Nordstrom, Djerf made a commitment to himself to get faster over the summer.

“He made the decision in the summer to give it a go and see what all that work would do,” Nordstrom said. “He made that choice internally to be like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna put in the time and put in the miles and we will see what happens.’”

According to Djerf, he went into this year with a different mindset that set him apart from others.

“I had always been toward the back of the pack and last year I thought jokingly how funny would it be if I decided to train a bunch and run varsity next year,” Djerf said. “I did that because I would be running at the summer captains’ practices and I thought, ‘wow I like this so much.’ I kept pushing myself to run harder, further and faster and I got a lot better. All the miles I put in really paid off.”

Djerf said he was involved in three different activities and would make sure to get the most out of every practice.

“Often before the morning cross country practices I would go to an outdoor yoga class at Lake Harriet. I would also be going to nordic captains’ practice which ended up being exercising three times a day some days and running six days a week. I probably went to yoga four or five times a week this summer,” Djerf said. “At each captains’ practice, I would tell myself that I would run with the furthest running group for that practice.”