1) What sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
Aside from track and cross country, I have participated in football, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, karate, and swimming.
2) How did you get your start in running and how old were you at that time?
I started running in the spring of 2010, during my eighth grade year as a 13 year-old. My teammate from baseball and football had run track the previous year for CYO and convinced me to join him. My first season of cross country was as a freshman at Tracy High School.
3) What was the first success that you remember in running?
My first success in running was during my first 1600 meter race. I had never run the distance before on a track (although I had run the mile for fitness tests in elementary school), but I was able to win by a large margin with a time of 5:06.
4) Tell us a little about your freshman experience at Tracy HS and some of your accomplishments during both cross country and track and field seasons.
At Tracy High, I was originally going to play football but decided to join the XC team after realizing my disadvantage in size and my recently discovered running talent. After joining XC, I went on to win my first race in an invitational with 216 runners. My coach then placed me on varsity, where I won every dual meet and was one of two runners on my team to eventually advance to the Section meet. I missed going to the State meet by 6 seconds, and was given the varsity MVP award at the end of the season. During the track season, I routinely would compete in the 800, 1600, 3200, and 4x400 relay in each dual meet in order to score points for the team. After running so many events, I quickly discovered that the 3200 was my best, and I ended up winning the SJAA League meet in the 3200 in the varsity competition. I then advanced to Sections, where I again was not able to advance to State, but posted a PR of 9:43 in the 3200.
5) You have also run for the Pleasanton Heat. What have been some of your achievements with that club? Who are some of your faster teammates that are now competing in high school?
My experience with the Pleasanton Heat and its coach is what first allowed me to realize my potential in running. During my first year of track for CYO, I was recruited to be on the Heat by Coach Kevin McCarthy. The summer following the CYO season, Coach McCarthy was able to bring down my times and I qualified for the Track and Field Junior Olympics in Sacramento, CA. I placed 8th in the nation in my age group in the 1500 meters in my first year of running. The 2010 XC season for the Heat included me placing 4th in the nation. In the 2011 Track JO's, I won the national championship for my age group in the 3000 meters, and almost won another gold in the 1500, placing second. The 2011 XC season had me placing 3rd. Heat teammates that are currently running high school include Nolan Petersen (Washington High), Jacob and Peter Schlachte (Amador Valley), Connor McCarthy, (AV), Connor McKinnon (AV), Natalie Dimits (Livermore High), Cody Mayer (Liberty High), and Parker Deuel (San Ramon Valley).
6) You transferred to De La Salle HS before your current sophomore year. What have been some of the positive changes for you both academically and athletically?
Positive changes academically at DLS include the higher quality of teachers and staff, their enthusiasm for God,teaching, and creating a great learning environment, and the increased difficulty in the learning material. Athletically, I have access to trainers, and the best coach that I have had thus far in my short running career, John Pelster, as well as much improved training facilities that include hills and a running track (which were not available at Tracy High).
7) What are your current PRs in 800, 1500, 1600, 3000, 3200, 5000 and 10000?
800: 2:05 (Regional Meet before 2011 Track JO's)
1500: 4:06 (2011 Track JO's)
1600: 4:23 (2012 Simplot Games)
3000: 8:43 (2012 Super 7 Track Invitational)
3200: 9:43 (2011 SJS Section 1 Meet)
5000: 15:18 (2011 XC JO's)
10000: 32:36 (2011 PAUSATF XC Championships)
8) You cannot compete in Varsity competition this school year due to your transfer. What other races will you be competing in to maintain appropriate competition for yourself?
Due to my inability to compete in varsity races, Coach Pelster and I developed a track schedule prior to the 2012 outdoor season. I will be racing in open collegiate meets at local colleges such as UC Davis and Sacramento State.
9) Tell us a little about your current and previous coaches and how they have helped become the person and runner you are today.
The first great coach that I had the privilege of training with was Kevin McCarthy (coach of the Pleasanton Heat). He allowed me to realize my potential and introduced me to the training that would be required in order to become elite. Coach John Pelster of DLS has shown identical traits and combines experience and knowledge to give me the most effective training and racing schedule that allows me to develop to my fullest potential.
10) How many miles a week do you typically run? What is the length of your longest run? What are some of your toughest workouts? Favorite workout? Favorite race distance?
I am currently running about 70-80 miles per week. The length of my long run is typically 14 miles. The toughest workouts for me include intervals involving speed. My endurance is well developed, but my turnover needs improvement before the end of the season. My favorite workout includes tempo runs, in that I am able to sustain a relatively hard pace for a long duration. My favorite race distance is the 10K (although I've only raced the distance once). I enjoy longer races in that my endurance allows me to be competitive, they typically involve more strategy, and they test the guts of every competitor.
11) What are some of the races in the summer that you are really looking forward to once the high school season is over?
Once my season is over, my coach and I have targeted the USA Junior Outdoor T&F Championships in Indiana, where I hope to qualify in either the 3200, 5000, or even the 10000. This will easily be the biggest meet of the season for me and should result in PR's for whatever event that I decide to run.
Thank you very much for your time Blair! AJC