I won’t compare it to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy or the Challenger Disaster, but I do remember exactly where I was the first time I heard the name “Connor Winter.” It was a press box on the campus of Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, a school whose grounds rivaled those of the best universities in the area. The weather was beginning to turn foul; sheets of rain sliced through the crowd below us as the wind howled.
Despite the momentary monsoon, the mood was pleasant in the warm, dry confines of the press box. I was sharing the available counter space with the PA announcer, several timing officials, a few video journalists who came in to escape from the weather, and one grizzled grandfather of a man.
“I’ve coached a lot of good ones,” the man said, stopwatch in hand as we shifted our focus to the track below, where the 1600m race was set to begin as the rain conveniently slackened. “But none are better than that one. Connor Winter. Coached him since he was a young one. He’ll be winning this race.”