Atholton's Belson closes out indoor track season on high note

Senior, who also is a member of marching and jazz bands, led Raiders to 3A state title while setting 2 indoor personal bests

  • At the Class 3A state championships, Atholton senior Connor Belson set personal indoor bests while placing fourth in the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 29.40 seconds) and the 800 (2:03.57).
At the Class 3A state championships, Atholton senior Connor… (Brendan Cavanaugh / Special…)
March 02, 2011|By Glenn Graham, The Baltimore Sun

Atholton senior distance runner Connor Belson couldn't have asked for a better way to close out his last indoor track season last Wednesday . First and foremost, the Raiders came away with the Class 3A state championships, besting runner-up Linganore, 62-44. Second, he set personal indoor bests in placing fourth in the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 29.40 seconds) and the 800 (2:03.57), contributing 10 valuable team points. Belson has two passions — running and music — and he's managed to do both extensively while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Athletically, Belson has spent four years running cross country and two years each in indoor and outdoor track. In the fourth grade, he began playing the clarinet and added the saxophone in the sixth grade. In high school, he a member of the marching band, jazz band, wind ensemble, saxophone quartet and jazz combination. Belson is still undecided on a college and a major. He has applied to 11 schools and has been accepted to the first three he has heard back from, including his top choice, North Carolina.

Question: What is it you enjoy most about running?

Answer: I love the competitiveness I get with running. But probably what I love most about it is the people you meet when you run and the experiences you share when you run with them. They're my best friends and all of us running together every day is a great feeling.

Q: How important is the camaraderie you've developed with your teammates?

A: When I came into high school I didn't know a single person on my team, and now there has been seven or eight seniors who have all been running together for these four years. And now we do everything together. … It's a great feeling to go out and do what you love doing and being with the people you love. Doing it all together makes it that much more worthwhile.

Q: What was it like being a part of a state championship team?

A: Not only to have a group of good runners, but to have all the guys have a great day on the same day — it all came together. I knew we had a good team, but I didn't if we could pull together to win a state championship. It was a great feeling. Each race was like the person would do what they needed to do and the next person would do even better and it just kind of kept building up and then before you knew it, we had it. It was a great way to end indoor track.

Q: What was the best moment from the day the team won states?

A: By the time I ran the 800, I already knew we were going to win because it was the second-to-last race, so it was almost like a glory run. I ran as hard as I could, but I didn't have the pressure of having to worry about the points. I still ran a good race, and it felt really good to run a good race despite the fact I didn't need to.

Q: How rewarding was it making a fine contribution to help the team bring home the state title?

A: I got fourth in the mile and fourth in the 800. My mile was 4:29 and my goal was 4:30, so getting 4:29, I was happy with that and we also got five points from that. I also got five points from the 800. They were both my indoor [personal records], so it was a great way to end the season. It was a great feeling.

Q: What have you learned about yourself concerning the discipline that comes with being successful in running?

A: The thing about running which is different from any other sport is you have the coaches and they tell you what you need to do, but when it comes down to it, what differentiates a good runner with a great runner is their ability to train themselves. No matter what the coach says, if you don't put 100 percent in, you're not going to get 100 percent out. So, over the years, I've learned that putting everything into it every day is what makes it a great experience. You can't slack off for a couple days and then expect to come back and run as fast as you can.

Q: How do you go about balancing all the things you do every day?

A: It has taken years of practice. I have to find a balance of what I can do and what I can't do. So there have been things that I've haven't been able to do because I just know I can't fit them in my schedule. I've never had a job before because I've always focused on these other things in my life. It requires a lot of late nights and cramming for tests, but it's something I've gotten good at over the years.

Q: Do you know what you want to study in college?

A: I do not. I've kind of spent my life doing a lot of different things where I haven't actually narrowed it down to one specific thing, so I'm going to go to college with an open mind. I've always thought about being a doctor because my dad is a doctor, so that's kind of been an influence on me. But I'm open to anything — I just want to do what I love.

Q: When did your love for music begin?

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