Athletes of the Week: The Vestavia 4x800

Last Friday at the Hewitt-Trussville Invitational, the Vestavia Hills boys 4x800m set a new all time State Record in a time of 7:38.25. It went from Mitchell Schaaf to Henry Strand to Max Armstrong to Alex Leath. Their time beat the previous fastest State time set by Smiths Station in 2007 at 7:40.80 at the Nike Outdoor Nationals. 

Was breaking Smiths Station's all time State record something y'all had talked about this season? 

Henry: Yes, coming into the season we've had our eyes set on that goal. We knew we were more than capable of breaking it. We just all had to have a decent day. 

Did y'all set the Hewitt-Trussville Invitational as the day for it? If so, what were your nerves like entering the race? Particularly Mitchell, knowing you had to set the pace from the start? 

Mitchell: Yes, we set Hewitt as the meet we wanted to go for the record. My nerves were pretty high before the race. I knew I had to get out and ignore everyone else in the race and just focus on myself. 

Max, when you got the baton, did you know you were still on pace or within reach? What were you thinking as you're now running by yourself? 

Max: I saw the clock at 3:52 right about when I got the baton so I knew we were on pace, but also knew I still needed to have a solid leg. 

Alex, what's the feeling like when you cross the line knowing you've made history? And how does it feel to be the fastest team EVER in the state? 

Alex: It was an amazing feeling knowing that we had just made history, but it took a few minutes for all of us to realize what we had just done. We trusted our training and trusted each other and tried to have fun. 

Back to Henry, you said y'all needed a decent day? Is there more left? Do you feel like there's any specific spots y'all could cut down time on? 

Henry: We definitely have more left. We all ran a few seconds off our PR's so with more preparation and hard training, our time will come down. 

Do we get to see this same lineup take another crack at it this season? Or even postseason? 

Mitchell: We're planning on going to Nike Outdoor Nationals in Eugene to run it again. We will have a lot more training under us so hopefully we can lower our time.

How do you guys continue your success next year, particularly filling the void of losing Alex? 

Max: The three of us are going to keep working hard and try not to let Alex's absence bring us down. If we can replace Alex with a solid leg and keep training to bring our times down, I think we'll be in pretty good shape. 

Alex, what about these three guys are you gonna miss most? 

Alex: The thing I'm going to miss the most is the camaraderie. It's great having training partners but it's even better having training partners who are your friends. 

Who is most likely to become president? 

Henry: Probably Alex. He's a great leader. 

Who is most likely to forget something important on race day? 

Mitchell: That would be Henry. He always forgets stuff like his Gu. 

Who is the best student overall? 

Max: I think I'm going to take myself on that one. 

Who is the best overall athlete? 

Alex, I'd probably say Max. 

What are the four of y'all doing if you aren't running? 

Henry: Max and I would be playing Xbox, Alex would be hanging out with his girlfriend and Mitchell would be swimming. 

Who is the one going to jail for doing something stupid? 

Mitchell: Henry is definitely gonna be the one going to jail. He's probably the most unlucky person I know. 

Who was the best dressed at prom? 

Max: Well if any of us went to prom, I would probably say Mitchell. 

Who is gonna make the most money?

Alex: Me because I always win Monopoly. 

Who is the funniest of y'all? 

Henry: Definitely me and Max. 

What's y'all's favorite 4x800m to compete against? 

Mitchell: I like racing against Hoover and Huntsville. We are good friends with some of the guys.

Who is the life of the party? 

Max: Me 100%. 

Alex, I'm giving you 10 half court shots. If _____ makes 1 out of 10, y'all all get $10 million each. If he misses all 10, y'all go to jail for 10 years. Who are you trusting to make the shot? 

Alex: Me 

Max: No, definitely me. Alex could maybe pull it off.

Come watch the Vestavia boys back in action tomorrow at Hewitt Trussville for Sectionals! You won't want to miss it.