Blake Noah is a county champion in cross country and hopes he and his Ohatchee teammates become state champions.
Things look promising. Ohatchee moved down to 2A this year. Though the state meet is different from regular-season meets in how they’re projected, the Indians have beaten their top competition in that classification.
Noah and teammate/best friend Gabe Hammonds were 1-2 at the county meet Oct. 25. The Indians went on to win their 2A sectional last week at Choccolocco Park, with Hammonds and Noah finishing 3-4.
Noah hopes to carry running beyond high school. He wants to run in college and still use the sport to stay in shape beyond college.
For now, he’s staying off four-wheelers and taking time to run down 10 questions from Anniston Star Sports Writer Joe Medley:
Question: What does it mean to you to be a county champion?
Answer: It means a lot. I’ve been running for six years now, and I'm supposed to have won it or come close to winning it the past couple of years, but most of the times, I’ve run kind of bad or off during county, so it was pretty nice.
Q: How has Ohatchee’s program progressed over the years you’ve been involved?
A: At first, the team was not as good as it is now, because it was new to our school. The first year we had a team was my seventh-grade year, so everybody was new to it here. We did good, it was either my eighth- or ninth-grade year, we won the county championship, which we haven’t been able to do since because Pleasant Valley always has a really, really good team. ... The guys team, we were really good my ninth-grade year, because we had Jimmy Wilson and Jackson Henry and me and Gabe (Hammonds). We were all pretty fast.
Q: How has your career progressed?
A: I’m pretty sure the first time I hit in seventh grade was a low 21 (minutes), and it just went down from there. By the end of seventh grade, I had almost hit my first 19. Seventh grade, I’m pretty sure, I hit a 20-flat. Then my eighth-grade year, my PR was a low 19. In the ninth grade, I busted in the 17s and ran a 17:55, I’m pretty sure. Every year from seventh grade to ninth grade, I dropped a minute every year. Once I hit ninth grade, I got Osgood’s in my knees, and I kind of peaked out a little bit, and I would only PR, like, 10 seconds every year.
Q: Reclassification put Ohatchee down from 3A to 2A this year, and you guys just won sectional and have beaten your top competition this year, Cold Springs and Altamont. What would it mean for you guys to bring a state championship here?
A: We beat them at Jesse Owens. I’m pretty sure that’s the race we beat both of them teams at. That’s only because there were a lot of people in that race. When it’s just our three teams matched up, they (MileSplit) have got us beat by a little because their splits are so much closer to each other. Their split is, like, one minute from their first guy to their last guy, and ours is probably two minutes, I’m pretty sure. That would mean a lot. This is my last year, so it would be special to win state. I’ve always wanted a state ring since I’ve been running.
Q: You and Gabe are close friends and competitors. What’s that like?
A: Me and Gabe, we hang out quite a lot. We’re really good friends outside of school. We have been for quite a while now. Me and him, we’ll just do a little bit of everything … fishing, hunting. We’ll go to each other’s house all the time just to hang out. We go to family get-togethers. We just do everything together, honestly. He’s like my brother, pretty much. Me and him talk some trash to each other pretty often, but I think it helps us. We’re pretty competitive together.
Q: If you had to pick a theme song for your team, what would it be?
A: I’d have to go AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, because it really gets you in the running mood, or maybe Bad to the Bone, by George Thorogood. One of our old teammates, he used to play it every day. That’s the only song he played. He put it on repeat the whole time, and that’s all you would hear. You could hear it, coming up from behind you, playing it on his little phone.
Q: I see a scar on your collarbone area. Did you have a fall?
A: It was a four-wheeler wreck a while back. It was the last Iron Bowl, the night of the Iron Bowl. Me and my friend Gabe, I have two or three four-wheelers at my house. We went to my house without my parents or nobody being there. I wasn’t supposed to be on them. So me and Gabe went back to the house after the Iron Bowl and started riding them, and it started flipping. I jumped off, and when I jumped off, I landed on my right shoulder and shattered it. They had to put a plate and some screws in there.
Q: If you had an extra $20, how would you spend it?
A: I would probably go eat somewhere or something like that, or I’d put it in gas. Twenty dollars isn’t too much anymore. I think a Coke and a candy bar are, like, $6 at a gas station now.
Q: What are three things you couldn't live without?
A: God, my family, and running plays a big part in my life, just getting me to college. I’m hoping it will. I’m hoping I get an offer from JSU, and, if I do, that would be great.
Q: If you were in a talent show, what would your talent be?
A: I can juggle. I can do four at once and just circular objects. I can’t do chainsaws or anything like that. I can do, like, baseballs.