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Turn Back The Clock: High School Careers Revisited

July 10, 2000

Welcome to Turn Back The Clock: High School Careers Revisited where we are interviewing America's top distance runners about their high school (and college careers). Today's interview is one in a series of interviews in conjunction with runwiththebuffs.com (if you haven't ordered this great book do so today), and it is with US miler Matt Holthaus - the 1999 US Indoor Mile Champion and 3rd place finisher outdoors at the USATF 1500 meters.

Holthaus grew up outside of Washington, DC in Columbia, MD and attended Wilde Lake High School in Columbia before going on to be a collegiate standout at James Madison University. He still lives in the Washington, DC area is a member of the Reebok Enclave and a graduate student at American University.

Click here if you want to read Holthaus's interview about his post-college development and shot at the Olympic Trials.


The Holthaus File

High School:

9th grade prs. 300m :39 (?)
10th grade prs. 400m :53 pt.
11th grade prs. 400m :51.3
12th grade prs. 500m-1:07


Q and A

RWTB/LETSRUN.COM: Tell us a little about your high school career. Did you run both cross country and track? What events in track?

HOLTHAUS: I ran indoor track all four years in high school. I only ran outdoor from my sophomore year on. I ran cross-country for my junior and senior years. Until my senior year, I ran the 300m and 500m indoors, and the 400m, 110 hurdles, and triple jump outdoors. My junior year, I noticed one of my main competitors in the 400 winning the 800m at the State meet. I thought, "If he can do it, I can probably do it. My senior year, we got a new coach who talked me into running the mile, too. In cross-country that year, I finished 13th in the county, 3rd in the Regional meet, and then 1st at States. From that point, I won every race, except one, for the rest of the year. They were all sit-and-kick races, though, and my PRs were 4:28 for the mile and 9:51 for the 2 mile.

RWTB/LETSRUN.COM: Did you play any other sports?

HOLTHAUS: I swam a lot as a kid. In high school, I played two years of JV football.

RWTB/LETSRUN.COM: What advice would you give to someone in high school today? What are the keys to being successful?

HOLTHAUS: Don't do too much mileage in high school. Maintain the health of your bones and joints and let your body develop. Be consistent, though. Develop a long-term training program and stick to it. The improvements will come with time. Don't be too hard on yourself. Learn to bounce back from disappointment and keep your optimism. You'll outlast a lot of people and find yourself ahead of much of the competition.

RWTB/LETSRUN.COM: Do you have any impressions of today's crop of high schoolers? They're putting up some pretty quick times.

HOLTHAUS: It's amazing how good the current crop of high schoolers is. From what I've read, many of them sound like mature competitors. I expect to see many of them at USATF Nationals in a couple of years.

RWTB/LETSRUN.COM: How did you end up choosing JMU for college? Did you enjoy your four years on there - both on and off the track?

HOLTHAUS: JMU took more of an interest in me than most schools. They were also willing to take a risk and give me some scholarship money. It was an excellent choice for me. I think the coaching there developed my talent. There was a good mix of guys on the team and a variety of ability levels.

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