Georgetown Prep junior Steven Duplinsky doesn't need much motivation to get out and train for cross-country -- so little, in fact, that he prefers to train by himself.
"A lot of people think it's very weird," Duplinsky said. "But while I'm running, I'm just content. I'm happy to be doing it. I just love to be out there running -- it never feels like work."
Duplinsky's training has helped him become one of the Washington area's best cross-country runners. He was named an All-Met last fall as a sophomore, when he won the Interstate Athletic Conference championship.
Additionally, Duplinsky has been one of the nation's top youth performers in the triathlon -- an event composed of a 25-mile bike ride, a mile swim and a five-kilometer run. Duplinsky has traveled to four countries to compete in eight triathlons this year, and he won the United States and Canadian 19-and-under championships.
In the U.S. meet, Duplinsky ran his five kilometers (roughly 3.1 miles) in 14 minutes 25 seconds -- after completing the swimming and bicycling portions of the event.
The triathlon has been part of Duplinsky's life since eighth grade, but this summer he reached new heights, largely because of his superb work ethic, Georgetown Prep Coach Rich Drozd said.
"He's in tremendous shape," Drozd said. "He has totally committed himself to what he has to do to be the best he can be. . . . [In cross-country] I fully expect him to be as good or better than anyone in [Montgomery County] this year."
Last year, Duplinsky was already among the best, winning the IAC title after capturing the Mercersburg and St. John's/Prospect Hall invitationals during the regular season.
Duplinsky has his eye on performing well at the Foot Locker regional meet at the end of the fall, but he said it may take time to adjust to simply running.
"Usually when I'm training [for the triathlon], I'm swimming or on the bike," Duplinsky said. "I have to spend some time off to get ready for cross-country."