Alex Corbett inadvertently fell in love with running while running the mile in gym class in middle school.
“That’s when I discovered I had talent,” he recalled during the Ram Invitational at Robinson Secondary School on Dec. 4.
Corbett, a junior at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, started running track during the outdoor season in eighth grade and shows no sign of stopping. He has been a member of the cross-country and track teams since freshman year. His times have been improving year after year, and now he is one of Virginia’s most talented high school runners.
Bruins coach Mike Mangan says Corbett has shown his potential year after year.
“Alex has become a student of running like few kids I have coached,” Mangan said. “He does all the little things that most overlook.”
Corbett came in second in the state cross-country meet at Great Meadow in November, running alongside Oakton’s John Stoney until the last 800 meters when Stoney pulled ahead. He finished with a time of 15:34.
“The kid in front of me put up a good fight,” Corbett said of the race.
[button-red url=”http://www.runwashington.com/2013/12/16/runwashington-high-school-cross-country-team/” target=”_self” position=”left”] More of the All-RunWashington team [/button-red]During his freshman and sophomore years, he has competed in the Foot Locker regional meets. This year, Corbett competed in the Nike NXN Southeast Regional meet in Cary, N.C. on Nov. 30. The first-time Nike competitor ran a 15:26, securing a 12th place finish and a 5K PR.
“It was really competitive,” Corbett said. “It was different because the field was really competitive. I tried to get people one by one. I would look at the person in front of me, catch them, then get the next one.”
Although the indoor track season just started, Corbett is looking ahead to his senior cross-country season. He is focusing on achieving PRs, winning states, and strives to compete in either the Foot Locker or Nike national meet in 2014.
“I want to PR as much as I can and win states individually and as a team,” he said. “My goal is to get as close to 9 minutes flat (in the 2 miler) and being in the sub-4:15 neighborhood for the mile.” Corbett’s current PR in the mile is 4:19 and 9:25 for the 2-mile.
Coach Mangan has no doubt that Corbett will achieve those PRs in 2014.
“He is getting better by the second,” Mangan said. “I am so excited that he is only a junior.”
Corbett wants to continue running track and cross country in college, but hasn’t yet decided on schools. In the meantime, he is focusing on enjoying his junior year with his teammates.
“My teammates are not only friends, they’re great competitors,” he said. “Everyone pushes each other and supports each other.”
So far, his favorite memory of the 2013 cross-country season is winning the district meet.
During his free time, he enjoys playing basketball and video games with his friends. He enjoys reading; Steve Prefontaine’s biography is on his reading list. Corbett is also an avid classic rock fan and has seen the Rolling Stones three times. He is currently taking two AP classes in U.S. History and Environmental Science, though he enjoys his Auto Tech class, where students are taught how to work on donated cars.
“I don’t want to be a mechanic,” Corbett explained. “I just think [auto repair] is something everyone should know.”