PUTNAM - When people say Lee Berube is an All-American young man, it's not hyperbole.
The Ticonderoga High graduate and Putnam resident is an All American - twice.
Berube finished second in the 5,000-meter race at the NCAA Division III indoor track championships in Greencastle, Ind., March 13.
A member of the SUNY-Geneseo team, he then ran a leg on the school's distance medley relay team that finished eighth at the national championship meet.
The top eight finishers in each event are named All America.
Berube is the son of Ellie and Jesse Berube of Putnam.
"I'm really excited," Berube said of his 5K performance at the national championships. "It's probably the best race of my life and I did it at a national championship meet."
The 5K was a tactical race. Runners passed the mile in 4 minutes, 47 seconds and two miles in 9:48.
"No one wanted to take the lead," Berube said. "In the final mile I decided to go for it."
He ran the final mile in 4:33, but it wasn't quite good enough. Kyle Brady of North Central (Ill.) College passed him in the final meters to win in 14:47. Berube was second in 14:49.
"I just couldn't respond when he (Brady) made his move," Berube said. "I had nothing left. I just made sure I kept my arms and legs moving toward the finish."
Jay Wells, Berube's distance coach at Ti High, shared in the All-America excitement.
"He ran a great race," Wells said. "He's really running well - and he can run better."
The race was redemption for Berube, a sophomore, who won the state Class D cross county championship while at Ti High. Last fall he had a bad race at the NCAA cross country championship meet, finishing 80th.
"It was a bad race, but it gave me a lot of motivation," Berube said. "I really wanted to run well this winter."
He did that, setting a 5K personal best of 14:30 earlier in the season at the Cornell Relays. He also beat the defending cross country champion, Ricky Flynn of Lynchburg (Va.) College, in the indoor 5K championship race.
Mike Woods, SUNY-Geneseo distance and cross country coach, said the winter season was important for Berube.
"He's had a terrific bounce-back season and his two All-America season this winter is just the tip of the ice-burg for him," Woods said. "I hope he can stay healthy the rest of the way and you will see more outstanding performances from him.
"He's a hard worker and fun to coach," Woods said. "He's still learning how to race, but he's put up great numbers so far. He surpassed six-time Geneseo All-American Ted Turner's marks in the 3K and 5K. He broke a 28-year old SUNYAC record with his 8:17 3K this year at Boston."
Berube has now turned his attention to the outdoor track season. He hopes to break the State University of New York Athletic Conference 5K record of 14:22 this spring and has his eye on the 5K national championship.
"I'm going for the 5K title," he said. "I'm really looking forward to the outdoor championship meet."
Berube is a biology and secondary education major at Geneseo. He hopes to become a high school teacher and coach.
"School is going well," he said. "I love to run, to compete. I like the academic work, too. It can be a challenge to balance running, academic and social life, but I try to keep everything separate and concentrate on one thing at a time."