Next Up for Colin Baker: Great American Festival

What made you decide to debut at the end of September?
It was not so much of a decision as it was a circumstance. I just could not find a weekend to fit a race in with the college visits I was going on as well as the initial cancellation of Lake Murray due to Hurricane Florence.

How did you focus during the delay?
I was easily able to maintain my focus just by looking at the fast times the other guys in the states were posting. I knew I had to keep working if I wanted to compete this guys.

Where do you rank? 

What was summer training like for you?
Summer training went very well for me. I was able to handle more volume as well as maintain a higher consistency with my training. I attribute this mostly to doing a better job of staying hydrated and choosing better times of day to run at when it was less hot.

What goals do you have your senior season?
In terms of cross country, I would like to win another state championship as well as qualify for Foot Locker nationals.

Do you have any college ideas at this time?
I have taken visits to Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Duke. I will pick from one of these four soon.

What post season plans and goals do you have?
As I mentioned earlier, I really want to make it to Foot Locker this year. Competing at Foot Locker has been a dream of mine ever since middle school when I was first introduced to the sport. I will also probably compete at Dash for Doobie again as a tuneup for Footlocker South where I'd like to run 9:0x .

Did you encounter any summer challenges? Please explain.
My school, Academic Magnet, has a senior thesis requirement. As such, I went to The Medical University of South Carolina over the summer and collected data for my research. Unfortunately, this meant I would have to miss summer practice with my team so I ended up doing almost all of my training alone.

What meet do you have next?
I will be competing at Great American this weekend in the ROC division.

Walk us through Saturday's race.
Going in to Saturday, I did not feel very well. I had a tough week of training which was only compounded by the high temperatures. Seeing as I had not done much in terms of race specific work, my coach and I decided it would be in my best interest to set a tough pace from the start and make the most of my strength.

How did it feel to win Saturday?
It felt very good to open my season with a win. However, I know I still have a lot of work to do if I want to accomplish my goals for this season.

Coach comments, Brian Johnson: 

Colin racing for the first time this season was not intentional.  Colin wanted to do all of his college visits early so that he could make a decision and be finished with the recruiting process this fall which I fully supported being a former college coach and knowing the ins and outs of recruiting.  He took four official visits which he was flown to the schools and stayed overnight for two nights at each.  The schools he visited had specific weekends for Track/XC recruits so we planned his races around those.  He was supposed to race at the Mike Moore Lake Murray Invitational and then get on a plane that day for a visit.  With Hurricane Florence postponing the meet, that did not happen.  The meet was postponed to the following week and we had some team conflicts that weekend so we decided it was best as a team to not go up to Columbia for the meet.  Our next scheduled meet was the Low Country.  He will race at Great American this weekend and then race the remainder of our schedule which is mostly post season qualifying and championship meets.  The focus is to be at his best for the Foot Locker South meet at the end of November.

 As a team, not racing much showed some last week but we will keep improving and be ready when it counts.  I was happy with Colin's race.  We have not done a lot of race specific work yet so I thought this would be a good opportunity for him to really get out of his comfort zone and test himself.  The race went out a little slower than we thought it would so he picked it up at the mile and had to do a lot of work himself.  This weekend at Great American, he should be pushed with a pretty stacked field in his race.