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Daily Journal Boys’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year: Carlmont’s Aidan Dimick | Local

The first time Aidan Dimick raced the Crystal Springs cross-country course, he was racing against his older brother Ryan.

The race was nothing official, mind you, at least not for Dimick, who was a student at the time. He was just a kid with a dream and an older brother to the Carlmont cross-country team he looked up to. And while Ryan raced in the Central Coast Section Championships in 2013, Dimick was there as a fan, but would use the median of spectators to race alongside his brother on some stretches of the famous scenic Belmont course.

“I remember running around trying to catch him when he was passing,” Dimick said.

Ryan won the CCS Division I Championship that day in November 2013. And five years later, when Dimick arrived at Carlmont, he embraced the dream of one day matching his brother’s feat as CCS Champion.

This season as a senior, Dimick fulfilled that dream by racing in school history – becoming the seventh Carlmont racer to win the CCS Cross Country Championship – joining a selected Carlmont fraternity of big brother tandems for shine on the cross-country circuit. However, the Dimicks are now in the class on their own as the only brothers in Carlmont cross-country history to both be called CCS champions.

Admittedly, it would have been harder for Carlmont brothers Kyle and Drew Shackleton to both win the CCS championships. The twin brothers both graduated in 2004 and finished first-two on the CCS senior podium in 2003, with Kyle taking first and Drew second.

“Aidan winning the CCS this year, I think is the first brother combo to win the CCS (for any school),” Carlmont head coach John Lilygren said.

Dimick, by his own admission, doesn’t look like he should be an elite runner. His “awful form”, his words, are inherent to the Dimick boys, although each is unique in their own style.

“We’re all in awful shape, but it’s awful in a different way,” Dimick said.

Dimick is quite candid about his clumsy running style, in which he barely lifts his feet off the ground and generates speed from a high step cadence. His knee kick? None. His bribe? None.

“Everyone who sees me running says I look like a gremlin,” Dimick said.

Lilygren, who has been coaching at Carlmont since 2017, first heard about Dimick from the family’s younger brother, Kyle, who was a senior when Dimick arrived on campus.

However, Dimick was slow to realize his potential. Hampered by injuries in his sophomore and junior seasons, he entered his senior season never having won a college race. Dimick’s best result before this season came as a sophomore in 2019, when he took fourth place at the CCS Championships with a time of 15 minutes, 27 seconds – finishing well off the pace of champion Colin Peattie of Bellarmine, who recorded a time of 15:02.8.

At this season’s CCS Championships, however, Dimick was the one to leave the rest of the field in the dust.

“Last summer after he hurt his foot…he came back from that and he really focused on training through the summer to prepare for the senior year,” said Lilygren. “So when he showed up for cross country he was in great shape. And the rest is history.”

After winning all but three races before the CCS meet this season, Dimick broke the 15-minute mark, becoming the fourth runner in Carlmont history to do so on the 2.95-mile course at Crystal Springs, recording a time of 14:58.9.

“I came out of the last slide alone, and to be there, and to know that they all got to see me alone…it was really, really satisfying,” Dimick said.

It wouldn’t be Dimick’s last podium finish of the season. Two weeks later, at the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno, Dimick intended to race with the top level of Division I racing. It was a tall order, as the National powerhouse Newbury Park – a school that had traditionally competed in the Division II race – has been pushed up to Division I this season.

Five Newbury Park riders took the top seven spots in the Division I race. Close behind them, finishing in eighth place – a state championship podium – was Dimick, with a time of 15:14, 7. That’s the fastest time at the state meet for any Carlmont runner in school history.

“He was very dedicated and very determined,” Lilygren said. “And coming into the state, just looking around, I thought he could finish in the top 20. But to finish in the top 10, that was just amazing.”

If it had been another year, without the Newbury Park runners, Dimick would have finished in third place. But the senior actually wears eighth place, as opposed to highest, as a badge of honor.

“I think it’s pretty cool to be on the podium with them,” Dimick said. “I’ll have this picture forever, so I think that’s pretty cool.”

With the track and field season on the horizon in the spring, Dimick, as a specialist in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, still has more of his high school legacy to write about. But joining Carlmont’s other CCS cross country champions – Hans Templeton (1970); Bob Love (1977); Brett Mack (1987); Kyle Shackleton (2003); Ethan Scardina (2008); and Ryan Dimick (2013) – his place in Scottish cross-country tradition is already assured.

“I’m extremely satisfied,” Dimick said. “I didn’t think it would end like this. … I just didn’t think I would be able to run that many races and win them. With no injuries, I was just able to run.