Salute to Seniors: Huntingtown's Thomas Foulkes

Photo: John Roemer

Name: Thomas Foulkes

School: Huntingtown HS

What was your most memorable race/throw/jump/vault/moment? Why is that?

My senior year cross country season started with three big goals in mind, break our school record, win SMAC individually, and win SMAC as a team. Late October rolls around and it's the hottest, sunniest day in at least two weeks, something that my coach believed would benefit me over my competitors, this SMAC title was going to go to one of two people, me or Mason Hoover from chopticon, when the gun went off it was clear the two of us had very different plans. In the first mile he jumped out to a 12 second lead and I believed that he would fade and I would catch him, as the race progressed that began to seem more and more far fetched, there was even a moment when I began to doubt that I would catch him, but I was able to remind myself that I hadn't come here to lose. With about 600m to go the gap seemed pretty dire, about 60 meters by my coach's estimation. The hardest part about the course we were running on is the finish, it's deceptively long and tricks people into going way too earlier, thanks to that when I came around that final corner I could see him and I kicked as hard as I could and managed to come out on top, the biggest and best feeling win of my cross country career.

Was there a certain moment or breakthrough race/meet when you realized you would be able to compete at a high level?

My sophomore year indoor SMAC championship, I was racing a 1600, 3200, and 800, and with the indoor schedule I was fresh for the 1600 and my coach and I had discussed me putting myself into the race rather than being too distant to kick well, so I went out with some boys who by PR were all 10+ seconds faster than me, but all of them had run the 4x800, around 1000m in I realized that I was going to make it to the end of the race with two of the boys, the eventual winner and second place finisher had well separated themselves, and I got a little too excited and went a little too early and got passed in the final 100 meters, but nonetheless I PRed by 9 seconds and ran a competitive race against people I had previously considered to be better than me, which was a big breakthrough for me mentally and physically.

What are some bumps in the road that you've encountered when it comes to training for different events during the season?

Being a distance runner this isn't as much of an issue for me as it would be for maybe someone who runs the 400m and jumps, however something I have found difficulty with in training is finding the right balance of fast low volume workouts that are more 800m specific to the longer higher volume more aerobic specific workouts, everyone is different and striking that balance is very personal to the athlete, but can take runners to whole other levels.

If you are writing a letter to your younger freshman self, what advice might you give them?

Enjoy it, enjoy it when it's easy, find solace in the hard work, and let yourself love the sport the way your mind does. When your coach changes, don't fear, keep working hard, it'll pay off, "embrace the process" is a common thing said in the running world, but I have different advice for you, have fun.

If you had to pick: Track and Field or Cross Country, and why? (If you only run Track, then don't worry about explaining why).

Track and Field is my favorite but only because that team element that for some people only exists during cross country existed during track for me because we were always pretty good if not state title contenders as a track team and some of my fondest memories come from the oval.

What are your post-high school or college plans? If Running in college, explain why you picked that school.

I'm running at UMBC and I picked UMBC because in terms of undergraduate study and research they had the most to offer out of any school I saw.

What is your favorite pre-race snack, tradition, etc.?

Pre-race chant during cross country.

Name the top Maryland Cross Country or Track moment(s) you have witnessed. Could be by the level of greatness or just something that really stood out to you.

Two 4x400m relays at two different state meets stood out to me the most, I may be a little biased in this but the first was my freshman year outdoor state meet, our (Huntingtown) 4x4 came in as the 7th seed out of regionals having barely hit the time qualifier in order to advance after being 5th in our region, going in to the 4x4 our team was 7 points away from a team title. They won the race in a 4 second season best and they won by less than a tenth of a second and they were separated from third by around 0.15 seconds, if they had been third we would not have won that title, I truly haven't witnessed a performance more clutch than that relay. The other 4x400m that really stood out to me and this is hard to admit because it's my in-county rival school, Northern, was at this year's outdoor state meet, going into the 4x400m Howard was winning the meet by 1 point over my team and Northern was 2 points behind us. To win the meet Northern had to beat our 4x400m by at least 3 points and also score at least 3 points, now this is less of a clutch performance because they were I believe the first seed out of regionals and didn't even win the race, but their anchor Nathan Jacobs, who had a truly special season, turned 18 that day and that homestretch of that race was so cool the watch, even with my team out of the picture at that point, it was a cool moment to see Nathan lead his team to their first ring by doing what they needed him to.

Who would you like to say "thank you" to?

All of the coaches I've had, especially Coach Deb, Adam, and Coach Coffey, thank you for everything, every opportunity you gave me in the last four years, every family moment you sacrificed to be there with us, I will never forget how you lead these teams and an infinitely grateful to have been a member of them.

Is there anything else you would like to mention that stands out over the past 4 years?

Huntingtown throwing is completely unmatched, shout out to Coach Hall and the throwers he keeps training.