Race to the Finish: Owensboro Catholic\'s Willie Polio


Willie Polio is a senior at Owensboro Catholic in Owensboro.  Polio led off his senior year with a second place finish at the Tiger Run in Louisville with a time of 15:49 last Saturday.  He has helped lead his team to the last two KHSAA Class AA Team Championships.  He was the Runner-up at the Class AA State Meet last season and is one of the favorites to win the title this year.

Personal Best

1600m: 4:28.92

3200m: 9:49.32

5000m:  15:49.75


KYtrackXC.com: Goals for 2007


WP: As a team we'd like to place well at races and have a good showing at state. As an individual, I would like to be near the front of every race and hopefully drop my times into the mid 15s.

KYtrackXC.com: Favorite Course

WP: I can’t say I really have a favorite course. I like different things about all the courses we run but if I had to pick one I’d probably have to say the Footlocker South course in North Carolina just because so much of the race is on trails through the woods.

KYtrackXC.com: Favorite Race

WP: My favorite race has definitely been Footlocker South. It’s just such a great experience to run against so many quality runners in one race. Also, as I mentioned before, the course is great and I like running the in colder weather. Its just such a great atmosphere to be in and I would encourage anyone considering racing Footlocker to do it.

KYtrackXC.com: Describe yourself as a runner.

WP: I'm not exactly sure how to answer this one. I guess, as far as runners go, I’m pretty relaxed. I don't start the race too fast and I mainly just gradually build my pace throughout the race. I don’t really throw in any crazy surges I just try to stay relaxed and have fun throughout the race.

KYtrackXC.com: How is Owensboro Catholic looking this season as a team?

WP: So far I’d says we're looking pretty strong. We lost some good seniors last year but we have a great freshman class coming in that hopefully will make us a deeper team than in previous years. We have a legitimate chance of having our top 7 around 17:30-40 or under, if all goes well, and we should have at least three all-staters in Blake Searcy, Chris Pope, and me.

KYtrackXC.com: What did you gain from this past track season?

WP: This past track season definitely gave me a sense of how tough it’s going to be to be competitive and win races in the state of Kentucky and how hard our team is going to have to train to be successful.  After getting slapped around a bit at the state meet I realize how many quality runners we have in Kentucky and how hard everyone’s going to have to train to be competitive.

KYtrackXC.com: What schools are you looking at for next year?

WP: I probably haven’t put enough thought into that yet but so far I’ve been considering Centre, Notre Dame (maybe to walk-on), and UK. I need to look around a little more but I don’t know where I will.

KYtrackXC.com: How much mileage have you been putting in this summer?

WP: In terms of running mileage, probably not as much as I should. I think my highest week has been like 72, but mostly I put in around 55-60. I train for triathlons in the summer so I get in a lot of cross-training with swimming and biking, but sometimes the races hurt my weekly mileage numbers. I’m pretty sure I’ve done more mileage this year than last so I’m pretty confident going into the season.

The following questions were added after Polio’s initial interview over the summer:

KYtrackXC.com: Break down your plan going into the Tiger Run.

WP: Going into the run I was wasn’t too confident. I hadn’t really had the best week of practice and my last 5k was horrendous.  Luckily, however, none of that carried into the race. I’m sure that like a lot of other runners, my only strategy was to stay with Dooley as long as I could. I definitely didn’t expect to stay with him too long and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was for about 3 miles.

KYtrackXC.com: What did you think about the dual with Dooley?


WP: It was definitely one of the most fun races I’ve been in a while. Dooley's just such a strong runner it really was an honor to be able to run with him for so long. At one point I thought I had a chance to take him but he's so tough mentally I realize now that by that point I had no chance. The race definitely gave me a lot of confidence I was lacking in and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to race with Dooley again. He definitely brought out the best in me and you got to love that.


KYtrackXC.com: Any other comments?

WP:  I’d just like to thank you, Coach Grooms, for maintaining this site.  It’s great to be able to get on and check out all the news and I’d like to wish all the other Kentucky runners the best of luck this season.