Over the past year, Richard Montgomery's Brian Sickles has made a name for himself as one of the most versatile athletes in the county. Always one of the better distance runners in the county, Sickles originally associated himself with the cross country boys of MoCo. But indoors 2006, Sickles wanted to try something new. He gave sprinting a try and ended up helping his team win the 4x400-meter relay state title. Sickles later stunned the county by winning the open 400-meter run at the outdoor county championship, 2006 in a time of 49.4. He returns this track season as one of just a few runners who have run sub-50 in the 400. Mocorunning asks Sickles about the transition from distance running to sprints, what he hopes to accomplish this season, and where he will be when he graduates high school in a few short weeks.
MoCoRunning: How is it going Brian? Believe it or not, the end of your senior season will be here before you know it. Are you enjoying it?
Sickles: Everything is just dandy. Senior year is amazing and I am loving every second of it.
MoCoRunning: You've proven to be a versatile athlete and a key player for your team. What event(s) are you focusing on this outdoor season?
Sickles: I would say mostly I am focused on the 400m Dash and the 4x800 meter relay. I would love to see our 4x800 make states. We have worked really hard. I just hope we can get our handoffs down ok :-) haha. It would be cool to repeat as MoCo champ in the 400. It's gonna be really tough with all the competition in the county. Will Z, Nick South, Evan, Quadell, Jamal O, and Louis Varella all have the capability of going sub 50. It's going to come down to who wants it the most.
MoCoRunning: Those may be the event you are focusing on, but what is truly your favorite event? Most people have one or two to choose from but you can run just about anything!
Sickles: Although I donít run the open 400 a lot, I would have to say it is my favorite event. It's only 400 meters and to me it is a race to see who can hold a sprint the longest. Anyone can come out on top for the 400. Thatís what I love about it so much. Being mostly used to distance running, the 400 in my opinion is a great opportunity to show how an equal balance of endurance training with speed can make up some sick 400 times. I've noticed a lot more distance runners in 4x4ís this year and I'm glad to see that.
MoCoRunning: What has you training been like this outdoor season and how does that differ from your training indoors?
Sickles: So far this outdoor season I have been training mostly with the distance runners on our team. Occasionally I will run with the sprinters for a tough speed workout. Indoor I was pretty much with the sprinters all season. Every now and then after a good week of workouts our coach would let us play some capture the flag at Saturday practices. Thanks Coach.
MoCoRunning: Your coach actually sanctions capture the flag?? Where do you play and what rules do you play with? Does it ever get heated?
Sickles: Capture the flag is our reward for an excellent week of workouts. Playing capture the flag for an hour is a lot harder then you would think. Most of the time we play capture the flag on the Montgomery College football field. We have four teams (Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshman). Each team must of course capture the other teams' baton and make it back without getting touched. Patrick [Pinchinat] is extremely helpful in this situation seeing how he has the speed and the moves to shake people. At times it can get pretty heated but it's all out of good fun. The Seniors always win. We're just all that in a bag of potato chips...
MoCoRunning: This indoor season you failed to qualify for the state championship meet individually. Were you disappointed with this? Why or why not?
Sickles: Of course I was disappointed about not making states individually. I was just not fully focused towards the end of indoor and I paid the price. Hopefully outdoor will be a different story.
MoCoRunning: What is the end goal for this outdoor season for you as an individual and for your team?
Sickles: My one individual goal is to go under my county time from last year in the 400 of 49.4. As a team we want to win counties and regions and place well at states. I would like to see our 4x200 go under 1:28 again and our 4x400 break 3:20. I believe we have a dance-off scheduled against Paint Branch also sometime this season. We got a mini-preview of it during the ride back from Virginia Tech and it was pretty much a tie. I have been working on my moon walk so we shall see how that goes. Our whole guys sprint squad is notorious for showing some slick moves on the dance floor.
MoCoRunning: Have you selected the music for this dance off? If you could select the song, what song would you choose?
Sickles: I have a couple of selections in mind including possibly some techno just to get some rhythm. I would have to either select Sandstorm or Zombie Nation for our little dance off. Gary Frazier is notorious on our team for busting out some crazy dance moves at practice. I would have to put him at anchor for this competition.
MoCoRunning: What is it like switching from running 3 miles in 17:00 to running 500 meters in 1:10 in a matter of weeks? How do you pull that off? How do you go from being a top 20 distance runner to the county 400 meter champ?
Sickles: I love XC. Everything about it is just amazing. When I have to train for a 5k, thatís all I am focused on. Our distance squad for XC was a great group of guys and the training was intense but we enjoyed running each other into the ground. Going to indoor is pretty simple I guess. I think I've always had some speed in me. During XC I was always the guy passing people the last 200m of a race. I would say a huge part of doing what I do is passion and desire. If you really want to be a county champion, work every single workout 100% and stay healthy. All the guys on our sprinting squad push each other every day. We're like one big family on the track. I guess you could say Coach Wheeler is like our Dad, haha. He does a good job dealing with our crazy group of guys.
MoCoRunning: Do you have any brothers or sisters who play sports? What about your parents (now or back in the day)?
Sickles: I get this question a lot and it's my favorite one to answer. I have eight brothers and four sisters. This includes some step brothers and sisters. Surprisingly, besides me, my younger sister is really the only other person in my family to compete in sports. She is a sophomore and plays Varsity Lacrosse for RM. My Stepmom used to run track for Woodward High School back in the day. I think she used to do hurdles for the track team. Otherwise my family is pretty musical rather then all into the sports stuff. Almost all my brothers and sisters can play an instrument very successfully. I myself am a percussionist.
MoCoRunning: Of all of the things that you have achieved, perhaps the most legendary is your inspirational suggestion of the original Burrito Mile in February 2006. From where did this idea come? What kind of impact do you think that you have had on the world for this enlightened idea?
Sickles: I am in love with Chipotle burritos and I can proudly say I am one of the few who can down three in one sitting. Often after I finish one, I used to joke around with my friends that I could run some crazy mile time even with the huge burrito in my belly. Eventually it just kind of hit me. I suggested the idea in the forums and it was a hit! I wanted to see how people would fare in a race that combines both eating and running skill. Anyone can come out on top in the race! Cedric Dana is my favorite person to watch in the burrito mile. Man, that guy can eat!
MoCoRunning: The clock is ticking, Brian. Where will you be spending the next four years of your life?
Sickles: I will be attending Ohio University in Athens next year. I am either considering walking on for XC or joining the intramural crew team. Most likely though I'll end up on the intramural track team because they just got rid of their Varsity Menís team this year.