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Freshman phenom hopes for big return

Barrow MVP

POSTED: August 2, 2014 1:00 p.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

Micah Weathers runs a race in Sep. 2013.

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After a stellar freshman year, Winder-Barrow cross country’s Micah Weathers hopes to reignite in the upcoming fall season and once again lead her team to an appearance in the state cross country finals.

“I’m just trying to be the best I can be,” Distance Dogg Micah Weathers said.

Weathers set a personal record of 18:12 for a 5K course earlier this season and won the Region 8-AAAAA championship back in November with nearly a minute on her nearest competition and nearly two minutes on her closest competitor not from Winder-Barrow. At the state competition, Weathers finished ninth overall in a field of more than 200 runners.

Although she was able to lead the Lady Distance Doggs to a state berth and nearly to a top ten team finish, Weathers admitted that her state time was not what she had hoped it would be.

“That was a really bad race,” Weathers acknowledged. “I had a reaction that made me really sick before the race. I felt like I was going pretty fast during the race, but I felt really weak. I’ll have to be more prepared this year and actually eat good.”

The season was not over for Weathers after the state meet, though, as she was one of 15 runners from Georgia chosen to wear the state bib at the 2013 Foot Locker Southern Regionals where she finished fourth overall among women in the freshman division and was the fastest female freshman from Georgia.

With all of her successes, Weathers acknowledges that she still has a long way to go in order to reach her goals.

“I want to be better than I was before. I think I want to be all 18s when I was all 19s last season,” Weathers elaborated.

“I was trying to be humble about it. It was really overwhelming,” Weathers said of attending some of the larger meets. “I want people to look at me and think…I don’t want them to think I’m cocky or anything. I just try to stay laid back and try to be the best that I can be.”

After all, succeeding at high school races is just part of the plan for Weathers. Eventually, she hopes that running will take her much, much further.

“My goal is to be in the 16s by senior year so I can get to a really good college and maybe go there and get even better and hopefully go pro,” Weathers explained.

With a little prodding, Weathers admits that her deepest dreams go all the way to the top.

“To probably be on Team USA, that would be my dream goal,” Weathers added.

While the Winder-Barrow student has a great start on her goals, having already broken meet records as a freshman, she understands that there is still a lot of work to be done.

After all, there were three freshmen faster than Weathers at the Southern Regionals in Charlotte, and she was almost outside the top 10 at the Class-AAAAA state meet last year. 

Keeping in mind what her competition looks like, Weathers knows that these next three years are crucial.

“I never really looked at myself as the best. I’ve always seen girls faster than me, so I’m always like, ‘I’m going to try and get her.’ That’s what I want,” Weathers admitted. “I’ve never seen myself as one of the fastest. I try to just see myself as being normal or good. 

“I just want to get better.”

With a great attitude and work ethic motivating Weathers, her only worry now is injury.

Unfortunately, that worry is ever-present in her mind as Weathers had to contend with a stress reaction during the latter part of the track and field season, benching her for multiple races and meets. 

“It was kind of awful,” Weathers said.

Despite missing some practice time and a couple meets, Weathers still qualified for and excelled in the GHSA State Track and Field Championships down in Augusta. Weathers came in fourth in the 1,600-meter run for Class-AAAAA with a 5:14.19 finish while coming in fourth as well for the 3,200-meter run, completing the race in 11:22.94.

Her injury is largely improved, but the with the potential that any little thing could aggravate her condition and bring back the pain and derail her training and competition, Weathers admits that she still deals with the worry on a regular basis.

“I was always really scared that it would come back. I’d think, ‘What if that hurts again? What am I going to do?’ After every run I would ice my legs,” Weathers explained. “I was so scared that my legs would hurt again.

“I’m scared it’s going to come back. I know what it feels like and sometimes I get that feeling in my legs, but it’s not as bad as it was,” Weathers added.

Though a giant in the sport already, Weathers is a newcomer to distance running having only picked up the habit a couple of years ago in middle school.

At the same time, her inclusion in Winder-Barrow cross country is a testament to the success of the school’s efforts with the cluster middle schools and building the program’s base.

“In seventh grade when I started, I didn’t really want to do it, but my coach said I was good at running so I joined it and then I got fourth at my first race and I just liked the thrill of being up there, being towards the front,” Weathers reminisced. “I wanted to win. I enjoyed winning.

“Now I just want to keep doing it.”

While her initial success as a runner was likely more due to genetics than anything else, sustained success at the varsity level requires tireless effort and training paired with any natural talent Weathers might possess.

The summer holidays, in fact, just gave the cross country team a break from class. To really compete on the state level, Winder-Barrow’s runners have been working hard since May.

“It takes a lot of mileage and a lot of dedication,” Weathers admitted. “You have to get up the day before and prepare your body for the next day by drinking a lot of water. It’s tough because, even if you’re not thirsty, you still have to drink the water so your body doesn’t feel bad.

“You’ve just got to prepare yourself for each run.”

As with any student, Weathers hates to see the summer end, but her reasoning is vastly different from what most people would expect.

For the now-sophomore track star, the summer was a great opportunity to run that never came to fruition in her mind.

“It went by really fast. I had to take off most of the summer and only went to like four practices. I didn’t feel like I got enough mileage in,” Weathers acknowledged. 

Since she should get to hit the track more with the coming season, Weathers also admits that she is glad to see the calendar flip a page to August in order to welcome the coming races.

“I’m definitely glad to get going with this season,” Weathers concluded.

The first varsity cross country race of the season for Winder-Barrow is the Saucony XC Kickoff Classic on Saturday, Aug. 23 in Savannah. This year’s region race is Saturday Nov. 1 in Conyers with the state meet the following Saturday in the annual host site, Carrollton. 

 

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