Sunday, May 27, 2012

Catching up with Menlo Atherton runner, George Baier...

Today we chat with Menlo Atherton junior runner, George Baier (picture to the left courtesy of Hank Lawson).  This past Friday, he registered one of the shocking victories at the CCS meet with his 1st place finish in the 1600m. What made it a surprise is that the previous Saturday, Baier finished in 13th place which meant he missed qualifying to Friday's final by one spot.  Milpitas runner Yohaness Estifanos who qualified in both the 1600 and 3200 decided to focus solely on the 3200 and that opened the door for Baier.  With a timely kick and a new personal record, Baier sprinted to his unlikely victory and earned himself a trip to Buchanan HS and the California State Meet.

1) You missed the finals from the semi-finals by one spot in both the 1600m. and 800m. What were your thoughts after the semi-finals and did you think your season was over?
After the semifinals I was disappointed to say the least, but I still knew that there was a chance that someone could drop in either event, so I knew I still had a chance.

2) When did you find out that you were going to run in the final?
My coach called me after I got home from practice on Tuesday afternoon.

3) What was your race plan going into the race? 
My coach told me to stay in the middle of the pack for the first three laps and then give it everything I had left in the last lap.
4) How did the race start out and where were you in the race during the first two laps?
The race started out at a 64 second first lap, and I was in the far back of the pack next to Waschura. The second lap was a little bit slower at 67 seconds and I was still in the back.

5) What about the third lap?
The third lap was also a 67, but in the last hundred meters of the lap I moved up a couple of places.

6) Going into the final lap, what place were you in and at what point did you think you had a shot at the state meet?
Going into the final lap I think I was in eighth place. I moved up to seventh place in the first 100m, and then with 300m to go I really picked it up. With 200m left I had moved into 2nd place, so I knew if I could just hang on for the last half lap, I could go to state.

7) Coming off the turn, the Los Altos runner was in front of you. When did you realize you had a shot to win the race?
With about 70m to go, the Los Altos runner began to slow and I closed the gap with about 50m left and realized that I might actually be able to win the entire race at that point if I could hold everyone off for just a little bit longer.

8) What was your reaction after the race and when did it finally sink in that you won ccs?
After the race I felt overjoyed but also stunned as I was unable to comprehend what I had just accomplished. The whole thing felt surreal. To be honest I'm not sure if it has completely sunk in that I won CCS, but by the end of the weekend hopefully I will have a firm grasp on my accomplishment.

9) Tell us a little about your season and what were your best races leading up to the ccs semi-finals?
My season had some ups and downs. I enjoyed my first 1600m of the season in a dual meet with Sequoia where I broke 4:30 for the first time. I also liked the 800m at the K Bell invitational where I broke 2:00 for the first time and took second overall. My favorite race leading up to the ccs semi-finals was the DMR at Stanford Invitational where I ran with teammates Jack Beckwith, Dijonn Williams, and Michael Hester to a first place finish. The next day however, I injured my toe severely when I fell at the start of the 4x800m relay, and then missed running the next week of practice and was only able to use the stationary bike. The 1600m at PAL finals was also a good race as I PR'd and took third.

10) What about your teammates? How have they helped you become a better runner? What are some of the tougher workouts you have done this track season? Include times and rest.
My teammates have been very supportive the whole season, we all get along well and are also cross country teammates. We're kind of like a brotherhood more or less. They have definitely pushed me to run much faster than I would have been able to one my own. At practice when we have a speed workout, Michael Hester, Jordan Scandlyn and I have the 800/1600m workout while Jack Beckwith and John Lovegren have the 3200m workout and we joke about whose is harder. I can't specifically remember any of our workouts' breakdowns, but the toughest ones consisted of either 800, 600, or 400 repeats with varying degrees of rest.

11) Tell us a little about your coach and how he has helped you get to this point as a runner.
My coach, Allen Perry, is fantastic at his job. He began teaching at MA my freshman year and the first time I met him was when he was the assistant coach of the cross country team that year. (Coach Wilmurt has also been instrumental in my success as head cross country coach and general supporter of the distance runners). Coach Perry took over as head track coach last season and has made many crucial improvements. Coach Perry puts in the long hours behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly and has helped me improve greatly in my three years at MA.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
 I would like to thank Yohaness Estifanos for dropping the 1600m, which allowed me to get bumped up to run as the twelfth seed, giving me the opportunity I had hoped for.

Thank you very much for your time George!  AJC

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fabulous race!

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