This week our spotlight features Conner Mantz of Sky View. Conner is only a sophomore but is already a force to be reckoned with in the state. With a 1600m PR of 4:22.30 and a 3200m PR of 9:18.56, Conner had to be one of the fastest freshman in Utah history. Now, in his second year of High School, Conner is looking forward to faster times and winning titles. I had the chance to ask him a few questions and get to know a little more about him.
Conner Mantz (Light Blue) rounds the final turn at the olympic oval
Last week at the Utah Distance Challenge you were 2nd in both the 1600m and 3200m, can you tell me about that?
Well the 1600 went a lot better than I was expecting. I had no big goal in the 1600m going into the meet. My main goal was to break 9:30 in the 3200. In the 1600 I was kind of surprised because for some reason every lap I thought I kept hearing “70 seconds” every lap and I thought I can’t believe I am pushing it this hard and still going so slow, but then I saw the clock at the finish, it was 4:25.
So how is it training in the Cache Valley in the winter?
It is really, really cold up here. Its alright now, but in January we had really terribly air with the inversion and also in January it was like 10 degrees in the day and -10 in the night.
So how do you keep motivated to get your training done in such conditions?
Mainly I just focus on doing well at Simplot, I really want to do well, so that’s what has been driving me this winter.
And do you do anything else to cross train in the cold?
Well I try to run on a treadmill or around in a gym every now and then. I guess I do a paper route if that counts.
So do you like track or cross country better?
Definitely Cross Country. I mean mainly Cross Country, but I really like track because in track you have the time aspect that you can always compare times and courses to each other and measure it and you can get splits, where in Cross Country you can’t do that. But other than that I like Cross Country a lot more.
So what are your current goals for Simplot and the rest of indoor season?
Well, Simplot will be my last indoor meet. I am hoping to break 9:20 again. I was hoping to win it, but I see who is coming and how much good competition there is so at the very worst I want to do better than last year. Last year I was 7th. I ran 9:40 and was 7th about 15 seconds behind 6th. This year definitely want a 9:20.
And come outdoor season, will you focus on the 1600-3200 or will you add the 800m in there too?
I'll try to focus on the 1600 and the 3200 I may try the 800m out a couple of times. I did it a few times last year and it was okay, but I want it to go better. I want to go sub 2 and maybe qualify for state.
And what do you think you can get your mile down to?
Not really sure, maybe 4:15, and get my two mile down to a Sub 9. I know that is a lot harder of a goal, but I at least want to try. My 9:18 at state was on a perfect day so I will need a perfect day. I don’t know if I can run 9:18 consistently but on a good day.
What type of mileage are you doing right now?
Right now its like 30’s to low 40’s. Doing a little bit of tempo but only like 2 speed workouts so far.
And what is the hardest workout you have ever done?
We have this hill about a mile away, we call it “Beast.” Its around 300 meters long. Last year coach had us do 10 times up the hill. It was definitely the hardest workout ever.
Was everyone dying?
I definitely was. If it were not for my teammates I probably would have quit or gone a lot slower on number 7 or 8.
It is always better to have people pushing during workouts? It keeps ya honest?
Yeah it really helps.
So what is a funny running related story you can think of to share with us?
Well I can’t really think of them all right now, but yesterday on our cool down my teammate and I went out in our short shorts and t-shirts and everyone was giving us weird looks. It was kind of funny.
Conner is set to run the 3200m tomorrow at the Simplot games. Check out his athlete profile after the meet to see how he did. See if he got his sub 9:20 goal!
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