A junior at West Orange High, Colton Berquist is a talented runner who is already making a name for himself as a member of the cross country and track team. At the Class 4A, District 2 championship Saturday, Oct. 26, Berquist became the first individual from West Orange to win an individual district title when he finished in first place with a time of 16:35.55.
When did you first get into running?
I ran cross country in seventh grade — and I ran track, too — then I took some time off. I used to live in Oklahoma, so for seventh and eighth grade, I didn’t really do anything. I moved here the next year, and I kind of jumped into it again. I started dropping my time in cross country, and by then, I was already hooked on it. Over time — especially during track season — I started getting really competitive with it.
Since you arrived here your sophomore year, what’s been your favorite part about running for West Orange?
The coaches know what they’re doing. … It’s a big school, too, so it’s competitive — we compete with a lot of highly competitive schools. Florida is a big state, so we’ll definitely see some of the top times in the nation come through here with a lot of events, and I just like the environment that it produces.
What is your favorite thing about running?
My favorite thing about running is just the sense of satisfaction that I get from achieving my goals, because that’s what it basically boils down to at the end of the day. It’s all about being a better person than I was before, and just finding ways to better myself.
What’s the most challenging part aspect about running?
It’s just staying with it, because there are some times where you don’t PR and then you hit some low spots and you really just have to convince yourself to keep going out there and trying. A lot of time with running, you could win a race and not PR, and then you can kind of feel bad about it.
What are some of the best words of advice you’ve been given about running?
The thing that really speaks to me is just run with heart — doing things that no one else is going to do in a race and just trying to stand out.
Is there a time in the race where you hit a physical or mental wall? How do you overcome it?
Absolutely. There will be some times in a race where you just don’t feel like you can move forward at all, and it’s either the pace is really slow and you’re just really anxious to go out and go fast, or the pace changes a lot — stuff like that happens. The most important part is just staying aware and just being smart with it.
You won the first individual district championship for West Orange during the district tournament. What was that like?
I didn’t really realize I was the first until Coach John (Layton) told me, because I thought, ‘In all that time, there has to be a district champion from West Orange.’ I didn’t come away with a PR though, but that wasn’t really what I was going for — I wanted the placement and to get all the possible points that I could for my team.