Simi Valley (Simi Valley, Calif.) junior distance runner Sarah Baxter was named the 2012-13 Gatorade National Runner of the Year on Friday. This past fall, the 5-foot-6 runner won her second straight Nike Cross Nationals title and third state title. Baxter became the only three-time Gatorade California Runner of the Year in history.
We sat down with Baxter to better understand how she outshined more than 212,000 girl runners nationwide to win the award.
Q: Your sweet tooth is almost legendary. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you have it under control?
A: Um, I guess I would say I’m at about a 7. I’m being pretty good.
Q: You’ve never lost a high school cross country race. Are you prepared for the first time you don’t finish first?
A: I feel like I’m prepared. I’m not looking forward to it.
Q: Your pre-race moves have been dubbed the “Baxter Boogie.” Do you have a signature move that could outpace “Gangnam Style” if it were on YouTube?
A: Definitely no signature move in the dance. No chance of beating “Gangnam Style.”
Q: You’ve grown 6 inches the past few years. How have you successfully adjusted?
A: I really haven’t noticed my growth. I haven’t had to think about altering my gait or stride length. I’m sure I had to compensate at some point, but I never needed to think about it.
Q: You set a course record at the Mt. SAC Invitational. Would you classify that as “the perfect race”?
A: It felt like it, yes. From the start, I felt good. It wasn’t too cold. The sun was out. I felt comfortable. During the race, I felt no pain. I felt no pressure.
Q: Do you think you can repeat as Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year?
A: I don’t know. It’s clearly so hard to win. I don’t want to jinx myself.