1) What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
I've never really played any other sports in high school besides track and cross country. I used to play soccer in middle school but I never did much else.
2) When and how did you start running?
I started running my freshman year at Ramstein American High School in Germany. I didn't really want to do any sports but my parents convinced me to pick one. I actually had wanted to try out for the football team, but at the time I weighed about 90 lbs, and luckily my parents convinced me to join the cross country team.
3) What were some of your highlights during your freshman and sophomore seasons in xc and tf?
One highlight freshman year was making the Varsity team in both XC and track. Ramstein High has a great distance running tradition– at the time, the boys’ team had won 10 consecutive Department of Defense Dependents Schools - Europe (DoDDS-E) XC championships, so I was really proud to get that letter as a freshman.
Sophomore year highlights included a 4th place overall finish at the DoDDS-E XC championships and breaking 17:00 in the 5K. Track highlights included individual wins in both the 1500 (4:09) and 3000 (9:04) at the DoDDS-E Track & Field Championships, and being named the “Stars and Stripes” male track athlete of the year for 2011.
4) Who have been your mentors on the Davis HS team that helped with your development as a runner?
A lot of my teammates have really helped me out his year. I’ve never really raced at the level of competition you find in California before. At invitationals like Stanford and Mt. SAC, I pretty much had no idea what to do. Some of the seniors, like Ryan Greenough, Dan Gonzales, and Will Young showed me the ropes and helped me with the transition from Germany to California. It probably would’ve been a lot tougher adjusting without their help.
5) Tell us a little about coach Gregg and how he has helped you get to your current level.
Moving from overseas, my parents did a lot of research and targeted Davis HS because of its good combination of academics and distance running. My coach, Bill Gregg, has a well-deserved reputation, and he has really helped me to improve over the past few months. Bill set me up with a great workout plan and also had me up my mileage from what I was doing in Germany. I saw big improvements right away, and I'm really happy about how my training has been progressing, especially this spring.
6) When do you feel that you made the transition into a serious runner and what changes went along with making that decision?
I think I started to realize that I could be a good runner halfway through my sophomore year. The weather was a big factor in Germany – XC ended in late October and track didn’t start until mid to late March. We lived in a rural area with lots of ice and snow, making it hard to run in the off-season. In season, I was only working out 4-5 days a week -- I also tended to pick the easier workouts available to me. After arriving here in CA, I thought I could do better, and I started running more in the off-season and attempting harder workouts. Having a lot of motivated teammates to run with was a big help. I really started to see results after that.
7) What does a typical week look like for you during track season? About how many miles a week are you running and what is the length of your longest run?
I usually hit around 50 miles a week during track. Our team usually does a long run on the weekends. My longest run has probably been a little over 14 miles. Besides that our team does an interval workout on the track (VO2) along with a 30, 40, or 50 min run two or three times a week. We tend to focus more on time and quality of running than distance.
8) Favorite race distance in track? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite invitational(s)? Favorite track workout(s)? Favorite run?
My favorite race is the mile. It's pretty much a pure guts race. You have to run it hard and run it smart.
Other than my teammates, my favorite opponent, whom I race on a regular basis, is probably Will Reyes from Monterey Trail. I’ve also had some good races with Caton Avila from Pleasant Grove. They’re both great runners and are both people you need to watch out for when you race.
My favorite invitational is probably the Stanford Invitational for both XC and Track. In both I got really big PR’s and I’m really happy about how my races turned out there.
My favorite workouts are interval workouts. I know a lot of people hate them, but when you finish a hard interval workout it feels like you're on top of the world.
9) What are your current track personal records? What about xc?
In Europe, we ran the 1500 & 3000, so the 1600 and 3200 are new to me. My current PRs are:
5K XC : 15:47
10) What are some of your favorite team traditions on the xc team?
My favorite tradition is one that the Varsity guys have been doing for a couple years. After a good race, we bring out these blue capes with giant D’s on the back. We run around on our cool-downs with giant capes on and keep tally of how many compliments we can get.
11) What were your race plans going into the Stanford Invite and how did each race unfold for you? What races are you looking forward to the rest of the season?
My race plans for the 3000 and mile at Stanford were very different. Because I’m new here in CA, all of these invitationals are brand new to me – the Stanford Invite has a great tradition, and I was feeling a little nervous going into the 3000 on Friday. I’d really hoped to be placed in Heat 1 (the fast heat). When that didn’t happen, I figured that I would just try my hardest and see what happened. My plan was to run 70 second quarters – I took the lead at about 1000m, and by 1600 meters I was all alone, but I ended up staying on pace and placed second overall (8:41).
In the mile on Saturday, I figured that I was going to stick with the front pack, not worry about my time and see what I had left with a lap to go. I feel like it worked out pretty well.
I'm really looking forward to the Woody Wilson invitational here in Davis. I'm also hoping that I can qualify for the state meet in June.
12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thanks a lot for interviewing me.
Thank you very much for your time Jack! AJC