Despite the pressure that came with being a defending individual champion, Shohib Abdul Wahab Marican showed his composure yesterday to repeat his feat and also led Raffles Institution (RI) to the A Division Boys' team gold once again at the 56th Schools National Cross-Country Championships.
He finished the 4.6km course at Bedok Reservoir Park in 16min 5.1sec, more than 10 seconds faster than school-mate Tan Chong Qi (16:16.9).
Raffles also bagged the C Boys' as well as B and C Girls' team titles and the B Girls' individual accolade.
Shohib, who turns 18 in May and is a second-year student, admitted that expectations had been huge and attributed the results to hard work over the past few months.
"As a defending champion, there was more pressure on me but I tried to do the best I could," he said.
"Our team approached the race with the mentality of racing with no regrets. For us, it was all about mind over matter," he added.
"Our coaches instilled in us the philosophy of consistent training so that the results will show. The focus is purely on what we could control."
His teacher-in-charge Vincent Quek emphasised that team spirit had allowed the athletes to thrive.
"Most of them performed to our expectations but, crucially, it was always about the teamwork," said Quek.
"For example, our C boys did not produce an individual champion but we still won the overall title.
"They stuck together and pushed each other to their limits."