MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Bryce Hoppel left high school the way most athletes wish too, on top, winning state in the 800-meter race.
"That was awesome. That was probably one of the greatest experiences I've had ever," said Hoppel.
Hoppel then headed off to Lawrence, Kansas, to compete for the Jayhawks, an experience that he admits has been humbling.
"High school, there were a few guys that could compete against me. College really, I was just like starting back at the bottom," said Hoppel.
Despite setting a new personal record, he fell just short of making it to the NCAA championships.
"I was happy with my results this year. I wish I was like .06 seconds faster because that's how much I missed nationals by. I got beat at the line and missed it barely," said Hoppel.
But coming so close, as only a freshman, has motivated him to continue to work to reach the spot where he once was.
"I'm trying to work my way back up. I wanna be top in the nation," said Hoppel.
In order to do that, he says he'll need to ramp up his training, which is already pretty intense.
"During the season, we run basically a minimum of 6 miles every day. Tuesdays and Saturdays, we go out to the track and do crazy workouts. Coach Wood pushes us pretty hard. I don't know how I make 'em through them sometimes," said Hoppel.
He said he will also need to tighten up his diet
"There's these crunchy chicken wraps at Kansas that are not the healthiest, I don't really like salads but I need to at least start eating healthier," said Hoppel.
Hoppel thanks his hometown for the support they've shown him since he moved to the collegiate level. He especially thanked his family, including his father, Monty Hoppel, who is the General Manager of the Midland Rockhounds, who encouraged Bryce to find his own path
"He never really forced anything and I kinda just found my own way and I tried all the sports. I kinda just found my way into track. I just love to push myself and it's something you can train on your own and do all the time," said Hoppel.
Hoppel will head back to Kansas in a couple weeks. In the meantime, keep your eyes open because there's a good chance you'll see him in Midland putting in those miles.