After finishing his senior year at Cardington High School, Mason White will run cross country and both indoor and outdoor track for Lake Erie College.
“It was just the atmosphere,” said White. “It was great and the small class sizes felt like home. The coach was great and I liked him a lot.”
The smaller size of Lake Erie proved to be a key for White in making his decision, as he had other options he was considering.
“The final decision came down to two other schools,” he said. “Lake Erie wasn’t the biggest, but I know it was where I wanted to be.”
While White waited until after the 2020 cross country season to hold his signing ceremony, he made his commitment before it started.
“That was the goal going in to commit before cross country started and be able to have fun and relax and know I have my future set,” he said. “I committed in early August just to get the weight off my shoulders and I knew what my decision was.”
While at Cardington, White has had a lot of success. He was an All-Ohioan this year in cross country, finishing in 15th place in the Division III race, and also competed in the state meet in both his sophomore and junior years. He was a regional qualifier as a freshman and also placed in the 3200 in regional track as a freshman and sophomore.
“Ever since I started, I wanted to compete in college,” White said of sports. “Even before I knew cross country was a sport, I wanted to play football. I just wanted to play a college sport.”
White moved on to distance running at a young age.
“In fifth grade, I ran a 5K in the summer and my dad was like, ‘Hey, wanna try cross country?’, and it kind of stuck,” he said.”
Over the years, White feels like he’s worked hard to improve his running strategy.
“When I was younger, in junior high, I was to run as fast as I can for as long as I can,” he said. “Learning to be smarter during races is where I’ve gotten stronger.”
White, who will major in sports management, will miss a lot about running for the Pirates.
“Just the teammates I’ve had over the years and to be able to have fun and work hard at the same time,” he said. “The older guys pushing me and guiding me to where I am now.”
He also expects things to be a fair bit more challenging at the collegiate level.
“It’ll be difficult,” he said. “Every meet will be like the state meet. It’ll be challenging. I’ll be pushed. Hopefully, I can find a spot and accomplish in college what I did in high school.”
One thing that will add to the challenge is how collegiate cross country races are longer than high school events for male competitors. Instead of running 3.1 miles, he’ll be in a lot of five mile races.
“I’ll put in more miles,” White said. “The challenge will be the mental part and getting the last two miles in.”
Now, he’s simply looking forward to what the collegiate experience will bring.
“Having new teammates around me and just getting away,” he said about what he’s looking forward to. “It’s like home, but it’s two hours away. I think it’ll be a new experience and be fun.”