XC Interview - – Will Norris, Spirit Lake High School
This interview features Will Norris, senior, Spirit Lake High School, Spirit Lake, Iowa. Will has shown impressive cross country performances and progressions throughout his high school career; 10th in State 2A as a freshman (5k - 16:49), 4th as a sophomore (16:19), and 2nd as a junior (15:48). Could 2012 be his ultimate year? Along with a 15:36.80 PR in 5kXC, he has bests in track of 800m (2:01.01), 1600m (3rd in 2012 3A State, 4:26.13), and 3200m (10:07.00).
When & how did you get started in cross country, or generally in your running career?
My older brothers were involved with cross country when I was younger, and I always took after them. I would often spend my recess time making laps around the playground instead of playing with the slides and swings, but it wasn’t until eighth grade that I really developed a knack and passion for the sport.
Person/people most influential to your success in cross country, or generally in your running career?
My oldest brother Andy has been the most influential for me. It wasn’t so much his success in running, but more the dedication and drive to work hard and run his heart out every time he was competing or training. Whenever he gets a chance to watch me run, I hear him calmly giving me direction on the course. It seems to give me that extra edge on my race.
Your cross country coach(es)?
Words can’t describe how incredibly important my coaches are to my success on and off the course. They are determined and stick to a training schedule to push us all to do what is not always, or ever, easy. Without their encouragement and investment in each and every one of their runners, I am sure we would be nowhere near where we are today. I am so thankful to be around such wonderful people.
Keys to your successful training program?
I am a low mileage guy all things considered. I believe heavily in quality workouts along with quality rest. Coach’s philosophy is always work hard and rest hard. We will have an intense speed or threshold workout immediately followed by a recovery day. I have adapted that training method in my own out of season running, and I feel like it is just what I need as a runner.
Why do you enjoy cross country?
There are so many reasons why I love the sport, but overall cross country is just a different athletic experience. There are few sports where everyone who puts in the training gets to compete, and that sense of community is shared in everything we do. There is always such a high level of encouragement and love within the team, and from day one of practice as a freshman I felt like I belonged. There is something so freeing about running on a grass course and feeling the wind in my face. I just love it so much, and get so excited just to talk about it.
Your favorite cross country meet(s)?
Of course I can’t deny loving the rush that comes with the state meet, but I also can’t downgrade my interest in the Sioux City and our home meet. The mystical forest of Sioux City is so memorable, and I love every second of that race. However, being supported by my entire town at home is so special.
Cross country athlete(s) you most enjoy competing against?
I have had an incredible time competing these past couple years with my teammate Keith Byers, and I am going to miss that experience so much in these next few months. This year I am very excited to be competing with Spencer’s Ryan Bauermeister. He is going to be someone to be watched by the entire state this next two years. Ryan is an outstanding competitor, and works exceptionally hard.
Your greatest cross country experience in your career so far?
My freshman year at the state meet, I was fortunate enough to be on a state championship team. I felt so blessed to be a part of that team, and run with such an amazing group of guys. I ran the race of my life and ended up placing tenth, and then proceeded to be swarmed and embraced by the members of my team. It was a moment I will never forget, and I can’t explain how honored I am.
Goals for the 2012 cross country season?
I really want to focus on being a vocal leader for the team. My goal is to inspire someone, just like so many others inspire me. It is nothing that I do that gives me success, but instead what others do for me and the blessings I have been given. So if I can return the favor to others, then I would accomplish my goal. If a state championship is in there for me I would love the experience, but I just want to enjoy my last cross country season at Spirit Lake.
Long-term goals in cross country, or generally in your running career?
I want to run in a college that is right for me, meet people, and experience life as a person and a runner. I would enjoy continuing my career far after college, whatever that looks like. Running is something so special and near to my heart, and if possible, I want to spread my love for running around the world.
Visit Will’s IOWATFXC.COM webpage at http://ia.milesplit.com/athletes/1197359-will-norris .