Nick Bax is one of the top prep school athletes in our area. He is a junior at St. Albans School in Washington D.C. and has already established himself as the #1 private school athlete in Maryland or Washington D.C. This year he has racked up victories in 6 major races including the IAC Championship and the DC/MD Private School Championship. He is also a world class junior biker who has won the Junior National Road Race Championships, Junior National Time Trial Championships, Fitchburg Longsjo Classic Stage Race, and placed 11th at the Junior World Duathlon Championships, Corner Brook. Bax tells mocorunning about many of his races this season and discusses some of his goals for the future.
MoCoRunning: Congratulations on winning the IAC Championship and the DC/MD Independent Schools Championship. Describe what this season has been like for you.
Bax: This was definitely a breakthrough season for me. Last year I finished near the top of a lot of races, but this year I feel I really proved myself and showed people some of the best I can do and I've hopefully established myself as a runner to watch for next year.
MoCoRunning: What were your goals at the beginning of the season and have you accomplished them?
Bax: My main goals before the season were just to get my 5k time under 16 and to win the IAC and DC/MD Championships, where I was the fastest returning runner. I ran a really solid 5k at Glory Day's, smashing that goal. I won both Championship races but I had to work harder than I'd expected to win them.
MoCoRunning: Is this season now over for you or will there be more running at the Battle of the Potomac and/or the Northeast Footlocker Cross Country Championship?
Bax: I'll be running at Footlocker for sure, and I'll probably be running at the Battle of the Potomac as well.
MoCoRunning: What do you hope to accomplish at the Battle of the Potomac and Footlocker?
Bax: If I race the Battle of the Potomac, it will be mainly for training, and to get a chance to measure myself against some of the guys I haven't raced against yet. My goal for Footlocker NE will just be to show people what I'm capable of, and to prepare myself for next year. I want to qualify for Footlocker Nationals in my senior year.
MoCoRunning: Only two runners have gotten away from you all season long: Eddie Judge at the William and Mary Invitational and Michael Spooner at the Glory Days Grill Invitational. Walk us through these races? Did you make any mistakes? Do you have any regrets?
Bax: At William and Mary, neither I nor Eddie Judge did any pace setting. I ran in second or third position until the last kilometer when I got a few seconds lead on the next runner. Out of nowhere, with about 800 meters to go, Eddie Judge came flying past me. I figured he would slow down, but he kept this pace up and I just didn't have anything left.
At Glory Days I just ran on Spooner's shoulder until the last kilometer of the race when he began his kick. I knew I could either try and keep up with him and run myself dead, or start going my own pace and finish with a faster time than I would've run if I had tried to stick with him.
I'm not sure if I got enough sleep the night before William & Mary because I was sleeping in a hotel room with 3 of my teammates. Perhaps if I had gotten a better night's sleep, I would've run faster at William & Mary. As for Glory Days, I don't think I could have done any better than I did; so, no regrets there.
MoCoRunning: You just won the DC/MD Private Schools Championship over one of the best runners in Maryland, Rob Wetzel. What was that race like for you? Did you lead or sit and wait? Did you have the race in control the entire time or did any doubt cross your mind as to whether you would win that race?
Bax: There were a lot of high expectations for me and a lot of pressure to win coming from my school, so I was feeling nervous about putting my winning streak at stake. My plan going into the race was to let Wetzel lead, but after the first mile, I found myself leading him around the course. At about the halfway point, I let him take over the pace and decided I would wait until about 500 meters to go before starting my kick. I try to always remain confident that I'm going to win during a race. The moment you think a negative thought could be the moment you lose the race.
MoCoRunning: What kind of work did you put in over the summer to prepare for this cross country season?
Bax: Until August, I spent my summer training and racing my bike. That's about 12-18 hours riding a week, and one or two races every weekend. In August I started running about 25 miles a week, and went to two cross country camps, one at Princeton and one with my school team in Vermont.
MoCoRunning: Why do you choose not to run track? Is there any chance that you may run track this Spring?
Bax: High school track distances are too short for me. I don't really have the same speed that a lot of good track runners have. Even in a 3200 I feel like I haven't gotten rid of all my energy by the end of the race. I may run for St. Albans at the IAC Championships depending on what my schedule looks like. I'll also be looking for a chance to do a 5k or 10k race on the track at some point.
MoCoRunning: Why did you choose to attend St. Albans?
Bax: 2 reasons:
1. Mascots – St Albans Bulldogs vs. WJ Wildcats. I'm really more of a dog person.
2. If I wore a coat and tie to public school, people would make fun of me.
MoCoRunning: Biking or Running?
Bax: I love both sports a lot. I can't really choose. So far, doing both is working well for me anyways. It will probably be running in college though.
MoCoRunning: Last March, you fell to a disappointing 4th place at the Burrito Mile behind Chris Moen, Will Palmer, and Elias Tousley. You were a no-show at the 4x8urrito in May. Some experts believe that you have the talent to some day win the burrito mile. Do you have any message to help your fans re-establish their faith in you?
Bax: I ate food from Chipotle before almost every cross country meet this season. Some days, after a hard workout in the morning, I can end up eating 3 burritos in a day. I know that right now, my stomach can digest burritos at least as well as the top eaters in Montgomery County. However, I'd prefer a two burrito 5k, or something along those lines.
MoCoRunning: What are you up to on a random Saturday night?
Bax: Food, fireworks, and friends.
MoCoRunning: The usual. Well, good luck in the future.
Bax: Thanks a lot.