This month we're starting another series of interviews with some outstanding track seniors
around Montgomery County. Our first subject is one of the best all-around athletes in the
county; not only is he Montgomery County's best-ever indoor hurdler, but he has also risen to
the top of the county in both the sprints and jumps. He has been a member of a Northwest boys
team that is seeking its third straight indoor title this year. Here's Mocorunning with
Northwest's own Shyheim Wright.
MoCoRunning: What originally convinced you to join the track team
your freshman year?
Wright: Well I started track in the eighth grade because my
mom and dad thought it would be a great way to increase my speed for football in high school
so, I joined the team to help with football.
MoCoRunning: Did you play any other sports beside track
before high school? What is your favorite sport to play (besides track) during your free time?
Wright: My first sport was football. I've played football
since I was seven and that sport was and still is my first love and here and there I like to
play basketball with my friends in my spare time.
MoCoRunning: Was hurdling something you knew you wanted to
do from the beginning? If not, was there a teammate or coach that saw your potential as a
Wright: Now I had no idea I was going to be a hurdler.
When I first started track, I was pretty ignorant to the sport and I honestly didn't even know
that the hurdles was an event until my AAU track coach, coach Sherman saw a gift in me that no
one else did and it's for him that I truly can't thank him enough for finding a hidden talent
MoCoRunning: Your team has won two straight indoor state
championships. How do you think each of those teams were alike and/or different?
Wright: My experiences with those two championship teams
were the same and different in some cases because the team during the first championship run
was very young and non experienced so, we really didn't know what it was like to be in the
spotlight. We were a sleeper team and just content with being in the state meet as opposed to
actually winning it. I think the team last year was more seasoned and more mature. We knew
what winning states felt like so we were a hungrier team than the year before. I think what
made both teams alike was how coach Youngblood developed a core group of guys to build a team
around and how both teams gelled together at the end of the year to make a run at states.
MoCoRunning: Northwest has one of the deepest teams in the
state. Describe the attitude around practice - is there a competitive atmosphere?
Wright: Now the practices are fun but very intense at the
same time. We all have a sense of urgency at practice, me and my training partners: Andrew
Daniels, Bobby Gicheru, and Josh Netterville have healthy competition during practice during
workouts and it helps us push each other and have quality in our practices.
MoCoRunning: Did you have a particular role model on the
team as an underclassman that you looked up to?
Wright: As an underclassmen I actually had two role models
and that was Diego Zarate and Jalen Walker. They're easily the best athletes I've ever seen
perform and I always looked up to them being I saw the success that they had through the hard
work and maturity they carried theirselves with and I wanted to be like them if not, better.
MoCoRunning: Do you have a favorite track event besides hurdles?
Wright: I would say, even though I don't do the event, I
like watching the shot put. I always watch my teammate Caleb Gills launch the shot with ease
and I'm always amazed how strong and graceful he does it.
MoCoRunning: If you can remember, what's the most difficult
workout you've ever done? What made it so difficult?
Wright: I would have to say the most difficult workout had
to be during my freshman year in the cold winter morning. We had to do 15 500's @ 70-80% ( I
was hitting them at about 40% as I was happy to be getting them done). I remember that workout
like it was yesterday. The thing that made it so difficult was the fact that the upperclassmen
made the workout look so easy I was so discouraged. I didn't think I could keep up with them;
I was the young guy in the back struggling on every 500 we did.
MoCoRunning: You're already Montgomery County's undisputed
best indoor hurdler. Do you have a goal for this upcoming outdoor season in the 110 hurdles or
the 300 hurdles?
Wright: My commitment to this team as a captain is to do
whatever coach Youngblood tells me and to lead my team and be a role model to the rest of the
team like the former captains were to me. My goals for this upcoming season the 110 and 300
hurdles is to win states in both event but to also be nationally ranked in both hurdle events
as well. Now in the late spring there are the Penn Relays where it is not the 300 but the 400
hurdles. My plan is to actually win it and not just be in it.
MoCoRunning: You finished seventh last year in the 60 meter
hurdles at New Balance Indoor Nationals. Are you planning on going this year as well? And if
so, do you have a personal goal (either place or time?)
Wright: I hope to be attending nationals this year and my
goal is to not only win the 60 meter hurdles but, to break the national record. I also would
like to be running the 4x200 with my team (Andrew Daniels, Josh Netterville, Davino Fraizer
and AJ Woods) as coach always has 5 of us ready.
MoCoRunning: Do you spend a majority of your time in
practice training over hurdles? Or is there more of a balance between running and hurdling?
Wright: There is a definite balance between running and
hurdling. I'm constantly doing workouts to work on my form and my endurance and other times
I'll be doing form and block work over a couple hurdles to keep my technique tight. The block
work and short sprints has made me faster as I have a strong 55m dash time now.
MoCoRunning: How is the college search coming along? Do you
know what you plan to study in college?
Wright: Actually I've committed to run track at the
University of Pittsburgh and I'll be studying business management.