Hurricane cross-country star Josh Armstrong excels as athlete and student

Josh Armstrong running in the Highland invitational, where he set a new personal record, Salt Lake City, Utah, August 14, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Phil Armstrong, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Josh Armstrong was Hurricane High cross-country coach Shelly Thomas’ No. 2 runner last season up until the state tournament, when he beat out his older brother. His brother is now at Utah State University, and Armstrong is Hurricane’s No. 1 runner.

“As far as region, I know that Josh will definitely be one of the top 5 for sure,” Thomas said.

Armstrong ran a personal best time at the Highland Invitational and started off the year on a high note. He then finished first at the Southern Utah University invite. He has been putting in added work on the side to make sure he is in the best shape to perform, and his team follows along.

“Josh has definitely put in a lot of extra time and extra miles,” Thomas said. “He makes sure that he does that in a way that pulls his other teammates to put in extra miles, too, so he is a great leader.”

Armstrong even runs when their coach gives them time off.

“I’m probably putting in maybe 40 miles a week with the team, and I think this week I’m getting about 65 total,” Armstrong said. “Today I went and did 6 miles extra after we ran five this morning as a team.”

Hurricane’s cross-country team huddles together at the Southern Utah University invite. Cedar City, Utah, August 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Phil Armstrong, St. George News

His friendship with the seniors has helped ease him into that leadership role.

“The seniors have helped me with that because I’m really great friends with them,” he said. “Over the last few years running with them, I have kind of noticed how they follow me.”

As for his work in the classroom, Armstrong has upheld a 4.0 cumulative grade point average. Armstrong’s favorite subjects are physics and math.

“I take all the honors classes I can, and this year I have gotten a lot better at managing my time,” Armstrong said. “ I make sure I have time to get my homework done, so I can spend the time I need on athletics.”

Armstrong is also a two-sport sport athlete.

“He’s very responsible, and he’s not only a talented runner, but also a wrestler,” Thomas said. “He’s a kind young man, and his teammates really look up to him. He sets a good example.”

Josh Armstrong crosses the finish line in first place at the Southern Utah University invite. Cedar City, Utah, August 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Phil Armstrong, St. George News

Armstrong has his eyes set on the state title this year.

“One of my main focuses is going for the state title,” he said. “The last two years I felt like I had been there, but I just didn’t perform the way I should have at state. I have kind of changed the way I’m training to prepare me for that race. Another big goal is to go down to Arizona and qualify for NXN (Nike Cross Nationals).”

As for college, Armstrong has not looked too far into it, but, he said, “An all-time goal would be to sign on to BYU, just seeing the success they have every year.”

Armstrong is a junior, so he still has another year running at Hurricane.

“He is going to be a great asset to us. He came in really strong this year, and next year he’ll come in strong as well,” Thomas said. “He’s very confident, but he’s not very arrogant. He’s a humble young man.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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