By Jeremy McDonald
EUGENE, Ore.– There’s a sense of pride for Clement Afterbuffalo as he stepped up to the podium following his eighth-place finish in the 3,000 meter race Thursday, and as he puts on the medal and took a few pictures on the podium the Montana-native was embracing and absorbing the moment he was in.
“Just coming off the reservation, coming out here to Oregon, running for Chemawa, this is my first-year running at State, I really liked it a lot and I’m going to try to comeback next year with a better place on the podium,” he said.
During the race, Afterbuffalo stayed with the pack in the early laps of the race but fatigue seemed to set in during the last lap or two for the sophomore as everyone began to kick their way towards the finish line as Afterbuffalo found his second wind in the closing meters to polish off the 9:44.38 3,000 meter race.
And as he steps off the podium and filters his way out from the podium-area to where everyone is awaiting their athletes, the experience with the 3,000 meter run this season is already fueling Afterbuffalo for his junior season with the Braves as he still has the 1,500 meter run to run Friday.
“Just keep practicing, running and staying in shape all summer long,” Afterbuffalo said. “I’m more comfortable with the 1,500 tomorrow because I want to get the fifth-spot or something.”
Awaiting Afterbuffalo, along with his coach, was his sister who made the drive straight from Montana to Eugene to support her brother in his State appearance is a special moment for the sophomore.
“I love it a lot because family that comes that far just to watch me run, she drove all night to get here,” said Afterbuffalo.