Heading into high school, Dulaney senior Eric Walz had his heart set on playing football. But Walz realized that at 120 pounds, he lacked the size needed to excel at the sport.
So he decided to take up cross country. It turned out to be one of the best decisions he ever made.
Walz has become one of the most accomplished cross country and track athletes in school history, capturing seven county, regional and state championships over a four-year career. This fall, the 5-foot-10, 135-pound Walz won the Elite Division of the Bull Run Invitational for the second time. Now, Walz, who carries a 3.2 grade point average, has set his sights on repeating as Baltimore County champion and winning a Class 4A state title. He finished second in the state last year, but does have a 2015 indoor state championship in the 3,200 meters on his resume.
What do you want your legacy to be at Dulaney?
We have had Olympians and state championships that have come though here. I just want to be one of the greatest ever that has come through here. We have a record board and I just want to put my name up there. I want to be a guy people remember, but not just being known as someone who won races. I want to be known as someone who motivated people, who is dedicated and is an all-around good athlete.
How big a goal is it for you to break the course record of 15:14 at Dulaney?
It's something that has been on my mind. It's a big goal of mine. It's not an obsession. I have run 15:27. I still have another chance at counties. I am pretty excited because I think I can do it if everything goes right. It's about putting everything together. It would be cool to have that because so many great people have raced on this course. It would be an honor, but if I didn't get it, it wouldn't be the end of the world.
What is your college situation?
I want to run in I college. I have been recruited by a couple of schools. N.C. State, UVA and University of Portland. N.C. State is where I would like to go. They want me to run there. I can picture myself there. The facilities are nice and it's a beautiful area. It has a lot of tradition. I wouldn't be their top scorer right away. You have to earn a spot and work your way up.
Why do like running run so much?
Exercise makes you feel good, but beyond that I have found myself and it's a good niche to be in. It's just fun to push yourself to the limits and realize there's a lot more than meets the eye and what you can accomplish. I think I definitely see that. I wouldn't have thought I would be a good runner in middle school. It feels good to prove yourself wrong.
Do you have a special diet?
I eat better than all my friends. I don't eat Doritos or candy or stuff. I cut out desserts. I don't drink soda. I eat well. I eat a lot of proteins, chicken, pasta and salads. I get superfoods kind of stuff. Kima, Kale. They say your body is your temple so just keep it clean. Don't put anything bad in it. Only the good stuff.
What is the most difficult race you had to run?
Last year, we raced in the Glory Days [Invitational] at Bull Run park in Virginia. I think that was one of the hardest races I've had in my life. It's usually a very fast course, but it was really muddy and slow. I had a cramp and I remember having a really hard time running the second and third mile. It was excruciating and horrible. I ran pretty slow, but the good thing is I had Aldolfo [Carvalho], who graduated last year, to really push me. He passed me and got me to finish well.
How do relax after a championship meet?
I like to talk to [coach Chad] Boyle, my teammates and my mom after a meet. It helps me relax. I also like to watch other races, but I don't want to dwell on it more than I have to. When I get home, I watch TV, sleep or eat. The normal stuff that people do.
What do you do for fun when you are not running?
I hang out with friends, but I really like watching TV and movies. I am pretty into that. It's so hard to name my favorites. One TV show I really liked was "True Detective" on HBO. I really like Wes Anderson movies. "Moonrise Kingdom." "Fantastic Mr. Fox."