Colin SyBing broke onto the scene as an elite runner for Wootton cross country and track during his sophomore year, running a 16:36 at the regional race and finishing in the top 25 in the state championship with a 16:41. This year as a senior, SyBing led Wootton cross country to its first ever boys’ cross country county championship and ran the fastest 5K in school history, in 15 minutes and 55 seconds. During track, he’s also dipped beneath two minutes in the 800, finished 2nd in the county with a 4:22 1600, and is seconds away from the school record in the 3200. In this interview, Colin tells of his best high school memories, the events that changed his career, and his selection as Wootton’s homecoming king.
John Riker: What are some of your favorite memories from your high school running career?
Colin SyBing: Running camp, of course. You get to hang out with the same guys for a week and be absolutely ridiculous and do ridiculous things, like running 20 miles. That’s one thing. [Cross country] counties this year was great, with good races all the way around. We were champions.
JR: Prior to high school, what running experience did you have and did you play any other sports?
CS: I ran cross country on the team in middle school and played basketball and soccer on the weekends.
JR: From a running perspective, what do you think is your greatest strength?
CS: The ability to change pace, especially when I’m tired. I don’t have the greatest kick but I’m able to change gears no matter what.
JR: What is the toughest workout you’ve done?
CS: There’s this one workout that is the two-mile workout [in track] where it is three mile repeats with the first three laps at two-mile race pace and then drop on the last one. I’ve only done it correctly once. I’ve literally seen people crying as they tried to hit the times.
JR: Which upperclassmen made the biggest impact on you?
CS: Josh Trzeciak. He was the first runner I’d seen that was completely invincible. He was just really good. Personally, I never really talked to him, so on a more personal level Foster [Ting]. He was a very good leader and even though he wasn’t really fast people always respected him.
JR: Sophomore year- to what do you attribute your breakout performance?
CS: Hard work. I actually didn’t train over the summer at all during freshman year, but right before sophomore year I decided to be a good runner so I ran every day and went to all the practices. That’s all it is.
JR: What are you most proud of for your cross country and track career?
CS: Definitely my county race. As a team, honestly, that we could all finish that highly, with all three of us in the top ten and ending up winning the race overall. Breaking 16 [minutes] was one of my big things.
JR: When did you really know that you wanted to be a runner and pursue the sport?
CS: The first time I broke five [minutes] in the mile during Friday Night Spikes my freshman year.
JR: What are your thoughts as your high school career ends?
CS: It’s a little sad, but it has been a big part of my life for the last four years. But you don’t have to stop running just because high school ends. Even though I’m likely not be running on a team in college I’ll likely be running club [cross country].
JR: On that topic, do you plan to continue your running career into college and beyond? What’s in store?
CS: I’m not going to be a professional runner, I’ll tell you that right now. I’m definitely going to run club and if there is a chance I can make the [University of] Maryland track team, I’ll probably give that a shot.
JR: Running aside, describe your reaction to being named homecoming king earlier this year.
CS: (Extended groaning, then a long pause). I had a very long talk with my friends after I found out about that and I didn’t really want to go to homecoming, but unfortunately I was forced to. It ended up being a fun thing, a nice joke, a nice story you can tell. Not too big of a deal.
JR: You had three shots at cross country states. What did you learn from each one?
CS: My first time at states, it was a dream, honestly, because I was incredibly nervous before the race and ended up doing well. I ended up getting top 25. I think after I got that, I got a little complacent because I thought ‘Oh, I got top 25, I don’t need to train very hard to do well next year’. Eventually, I stopped focusing on the extras like core and hip training and in my junior year, I started in the top 20 and ended up 110th. I learned from it that you can never rest back on your old accomplishments, and that led to states senior year.
JR: For your whole career, how have your coaches (Redmond, Buxton and Davis) made an impact on you?
CS: They’re big confidence boosters, honestly. If you walk into a race and you feel like crap and you don’t want to race badly, they make you feel like you’ll do alright. They always know what they’re doing, they’re confident. Coach Davis is really focused on individual athletes and I think that’s good for him because he can work on a smaller group. He really helped me junior and senior year and especially during the indoor season this year. It’s all Coach Redmond, honestly. She’s a very good role model who people look up to.
JR: Last one. What was your favorite season during your high school career?
CS: Senior cross country, of course. County champs, dude!