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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Catching up with Stockdale HS runner, Blake Haney...

Today we chat with Stockdale HS sophomore, Blake Haney (picture to the left was taken by Greg Brazeal).  Last year, Haney established some of the top marks ever run by a high school freshman as he rolled to the Central Section 1600m. title in a CA freshman record 4:12.34.  That followed up his spectacular cross country season that included some of the accomplishments listed below.  This past Saturday, Haney finished in 7th place in the hot 3200m. with a time of 8:54.65.  Just to put that time in perspective, the CA 3200m. record for a sophomore is the converted 8:47.6 by the legendary Eric Hulst.  

Lets go with questions from first:
1. Three words that describe you and why?
Competitive:  I grew up competing in all kinds of sports, soccer, ice hockey, baseball, flag football, tennis and track.  I just love to compete successfully and hate to lose.

Ambitious: I feel like I'm very focused in setting realistic goals and pursuing them.
Dedicated:  I'm 100% involved in being the best teammate and athlete I can be.

2.  What does Passion mean to you, how does it apply to running and perhaps succeeding in life?
Passion is inner desire to be the best you can be.  Working hard to achieve a goal, and loving what you do to achieve.  For me it means being 100% committed to running/life, and doing what you can to make your dreams a reality.

3. How do you want to be remembered as a runner? An all-time great, a record breaker, or one of many?
I love breaking records, but I'd like to be remembered as an all-time great runner.

4. If you met an 8th grader transitioning into high school who dreamt of being a successful distance runner, what words of advice would you give to him?
Establish goals and work your hardest.  Listen to your coach and trust your training. Don't be scared of the older runners because everyone is nervous once you step on the line.

5. Rockstar Runner...what does that phrase mean to you?
It means someone has reached a high level of achievement in running, and is recognized nationally by the running community and his competitors.

And now questions from Cross Country Express: 1) What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?  
Soccer, Ice hockey, Baseball, Flag football and Tennis.

2) How did you get your start in running?
Started competing in elementary school races after my sister Carolin, who is 3 years older.  My Father was also a middle distance runner.

3) What were some of your highlights from your freshman seasons in xc and tf?
Broke the California State Freshman 1600m record (4:12.34) from 1968 (4:15.8 converted from mile by Harry Nicholas of Reedley HS).  Central Section 1600m champion. Arcadia Rising Stars Mile champion.  Fastest all-time Central Section Freshman at Woodward Park XC (15:57).  Fourth fastest all-time Freshman at Mt. Sac XC (15:33) and 2nd fastest Freshman all time at Woodbridge XC (15:23).

4) What freshman race gave you the confidence that you could run with the best runners in the state?  
West Coast Relays 1600m champion. (4:16.54)

5) What did you do differently the summer before your sophomore xc season compared to the summer before your freshman season? What did a typical week look like for you during the summer?
Increased mileage, but got injured with an IT band knee problem and missed a few weeks.  Averaged ~45-50 miles per week building a base after my injury. Also did a little bit of cross-training (cycling and swimming).

6) What were some of your highlights from your sophomore xc season? 
Running 14:28 at Woodbridge and team placing 3rd.  Team winning Stanford Invitational and CIF Central Section titles.  Winning the Central Section title and running 15:23 at Woodward Park (Clovis Invitational).

7) What about your winter training. What did a typical week look like for you during the winter in terms of mileage and any workouts? What about supplemental training such as weight lifting, plyos etc?  
Winter was a lot of base miles (50-55 miles/wk).  Also did some cross-training by cycling (road).  Also did some hill repeats.

8) Tell us a little about your coach and how he has helped you develop during your first two years in high school.  
My Dad and high school coaches have worked together for the past two years.  They do a great job of keeping me focused and grounded.  They are also very supportive.

9) Favorite distance in track? Favorite run? Favorite invitational? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite track workouts? Favorite run?
1600m/mile is my favorite.  My favorite run is a progression tempo run.  Arcadia is my favorite invitational because of the tradition, amazing competition, variety of events (relays) and great atmosphere. I don't have a favorite opponent. I just love competing and racing to win every time I'm on the track or XC course  My favorite track workout is mile repeats.

10) Tell us a little about the Arcadia 3200 and what was your race plan going into the race and how it unfolded for you.  
My goal was to break 9 minutes.  I knew if I could stay with the main pack I had a good shot at the target.  I ended up spending more time in the outside lanes than I would have liked, and drifted forward and back in the pack quite a bit.  I tried to stay clear of the boxes so I was ready when the surge came.  I gave it all I had from about 800m out. And ended up negative splitting pretty severely to run 8:54.

11) What races are you most looking forward to as you look ahead to the rest of your track and field season?
California State 1600m championship.  Jim Ryan Dream Mile in NYC.

12) Anything else you would like to add.  
I'd like to acknowledge my teammates and coaches at Stockdale for their great friendship, encouragement and support.  Thanks to my Family for always being there in all my sporting events over the years and being so positive and supportive of me no matter the circumstances.

Thank you very much for your time Blake!  AJC

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