The Class 3A state cross country meet is Saturday at McDaniel College, and North Harford junior Nick Fransham is riding momentum into the race.
After capturing his second straight individual title in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference meet — leading the Hawks to their first conference crown — he added his first Class 3A North region title last week.
Fransham also runs for the outdoor track and field team and placed sixth in the two-mile last spring.
How has the season gone so far heading into the state meet?
We've had some ups and downs, but overall we're having a great season. We won UCBAC, which is a first, and we almost won regionals, so we got to push through that and hope to win at states.
How did you get started in running?
In middle school, I ran a couple 5Ks, but that's really all I did back then. I mostly played rec soccer and then I tried out for the high school [soccer] team and didn't make it, so I came to cross country.
What is the key to success in running cross country?
You have to be really disciplined, because when we don't have team practices, you still have to get out so you're not one step behind, and moving forward.
In the middle of a race, how do you overcome the tough stretches?
I just try to clear my head and push through. I talk to myself during a race, tell myself that I can do it and to just keep going. Mostly, it's about keeping a good attitude. [The mental part is] very important, especially when you're running in the big meets. You want to keep a clear head and keep going. You can't let anything bother you throughout the race.
How much have you improved from last year?
Now, as we've gotten to the big races, I'm seeing my times go way down, which is really good. My regional time was much faster than last year's time. I'm hoping to drop those times down even more.
In winning your first region tittle, how much faster did you run from last year?
A solid 20 seconds.
How does being able to measure your improvements help?
It motivates you a lot because you realize you can do it and you always want to do better than the last time.
How will you get ready for the state meet?
Generally on the way to a big meet I listen to music to get pumped, and then when I'm on the line I try to stay loose to be ready. And in my head, I'm just saying "you got this ... Let's go."
twitter.com/GlennGrahamSunCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun