In the spotlight is Auburn High's Tate Ogburn, a senior runner of the Tigers' cross-country and track teams.
Auburn Villager: When did you get your start running cross-country?
Tate Ogburn: I guess seventh grade, which is the first year you can start. That's just like Junior High, and my brother ran and my dad ran, so I thought I would try it for my first sport.
AV: What about running cross-country or track appeals to you?
TO: It's just very competitive. The practice isn't so fun, but you have to do it to get to the races, which I really enjoy just because it brings out my competitive spirit. I really like that.
AV: What's challenging about practice?
TO: It's kind of different for cross-country and track. Right now in track, we do a lot of track workouts, which is just repetitions of 200 meters or 400 meters. But in doing cross-country, it's more tempos and longer runs, like a hour runs.
AV: Is running cross-country present more of a physical or mental challenge for you?
TO: Cross-country I feel is definitely more mental, which is probably why I'm better at track than cross-country. I think it's more mental than physical because you have to run faster than you think you can. You have to run out of your comfort zone, and that's really tough for some people.
AV: What events do you run in track?
TO: I run the 800, the mile and the 4 by 8.
AV: How is the season going so far?
TO: I had a really good indoor year. In the 800, I was seeded ninth overall at state and I got fourth, so I was really happy about that. And I got a good PR (personal record), so I was happy about that. I'm excited about outdoor. Our first meet is this Saturday.
AV: What's the biggest difference between indoor and outdoor for you?
TO: Well, they're pretty similar. But indoor, it's a 200-meter loop instead of a 400-meter, so you have to do more laps, which I feel like can be mentally tolling on you, especially for longer races like the 2 mile where you have to run 16 laps instead of eight laps. That can be very tough when you're just counting down the laps in your head. Other than that, indoor the air, at least for me, it's kind of stale, so my mouth dries out a lot. But they're pretty similar overall.
AV: Do you have any role models in the running world?
TO: My brother, of course, I watched him run all the way through high school and some college. But professional, I really like watching Drew Hunter and Matthew Centrowitz.
AV: Do you know what you're going to do after graduation yet?
TO: I'm graduating and going to Auburn University, and I'm going to study Aviation.
AV: What drew you to want to study Aviation?
TO: My grandfather, he was a pilot in the Air Force and my dad, he was in ROTC. He never flew, but he was always really interested in flying, so I guess that kind of rubbed off on me. Going on vacation, I would always enjoy flights. I just really enjoyed it.
AV: Do you have any hobbies outside of sports that you enjoy?
TO: I just like hanging out with friends, watching movies, listening to music. Just the normal things.
Interview by Brian Woodham