An Interview with Larry Josh Edwards

 

Larry Josh Edwards is a freshman at University High School in Morgantown, West Virginia. He was runner-up in the Class AAA boys state meet this past season with a time of 16:07.78, breaking the tape 12.5 seconds back of the winner and leading the Hawks to a third-place finish as a team with 83 points. Edwards won the freshman boys race (16:22) at the Foot Locker South Regional championships and won four out of nine races in 2018. He was runner-up in four of his other races and placed seventh out-of-state at the Carlisle Invitational in Carlisle, PA. Edwards ran a 5K PR of 15:42.99 at the WV Group AAA Region I Championship which ranked him US#4 for freshman.

During the off-season, Edwards runs for the WV Flyers, which is West Virginia's premier high school distance track club in Morgantown, West Virginia.

While competing for the WV Flyers this indoor track season, Edwards finished 18th overall in the boys 2-mile championship at the New Balance Nationals Indoor with an astounding time of 9:12.85 (US#18/freshman #1). In so doing, he put down one of the best freshman distance performances of all-time. Edwards is also ranked #2 for freshman at 1-mile (4:25.12).

Edwards High School Personal Best as a freshman: Indoors 1600m (4:30.28); One Mile Run (4:25.12); 3000m (8:37.22); 3200m (9:12.28); Two Mile Run (9:12.85); XC 5000m (15:42.99)

I recently caught up with Edwards to talk about his outstanding freshman season and other running related topics.

 

Coach McMillion When and why did you start running?

Larry Josh Edwards - It all started back in the spring of my sixth grade

year when I joined the track team. About six months before I caught some

pretty bad mono and lost a good bit of shape for the spring soccer season,

so I figured running track would be a good way to regain my fitness.

CM People often ask me if you are related to Seth Edwards because

he also attended University High and has the same last name. Can you

set the record straight?

JE Actually Seth and I are not related at all. Hes a cool guy though.

 

CM Are there any other runners in your family?

JE My brother Nathaniel who is going to run cross country and track at

UNC Asheville next semester. I attribute a great deal of my success to

him.

 

CM Where did you attend Middle School? Who were you coaches for

cross country and track?

JE I went to Mountaineer Middle School in Morgantown. My school coach

was Aaron Nichols and I was also trained by Justin Simpson, who now is

the head coach for West Liberty University, and Jonathon Wright during

the offseason. I also trained with Buck Brooks for Footlocker South.

 

CM Barbourvilles Jacob Burcham (2008) is considered the best track

and field distance runner at the middle school level in the state having

ran PRs of 2:05.50 (800m), 4:33.22 (1600m), 10:31.70 (3200m). Can

you tell us what kind of times you ran in middle school?

JE - In middle school I went 2:11, 4:43, and a 10:03. I dedicated my last

track season to that 3200.

 

CM If you met an eighth grader transitioning into high school who

dreamt of being a successful distance runner, what words of advice

would you give?

JE What I would say to them is that you have to dedicate yourself to

taking that next step and you have to be all in. I know that might scare a

lot of kids, but if you can have fun while training it becomes a lot easier

and enjoyable.

 

CM You are only a freshman in high school, but have already been

making your mark at the national level. Can you tell us what its like

adjusting to high school, your coaches, and teammates?

JE - Going into high school was a lot easier than anticipated. Ive found a

nice balance between class and running. With my coaching and

teammates everything has been great. Everyone gets along and we have

a fun time.

 

CM How were you able to make such a smooth transition. I have

personally witnessed a lot of standout middle school runners struggle

making the jump from eighth grade to high school, so how did you

avoid any pitfalls of freshman year?

JE I never really thought about going to high school as this big gap, I

knew all my teammates and the coach because my brother had been with

the program for three years which made it easy. My best advice I can give

to a middle school prospect is to not expect to be the big fish in the small

pond anymore. Dont go in with the mentality that youre better than

everyone else or it wont work out in your favor.

 

CM Do you run in the off-season for any running clubs? If so, whom?

Who are your coaches?

JE I run for WV Flyers during the indoor season also in early June and

the month of November to be prepared for New Balance and Foot Locker.

My current coach is Aaron Nichols who ran for Navy back in the day.

 

CM Did you do anything differently the summer before your freshman

cross country season? Such as training or mileage.

JE Just a ton of easy miles.

 

CM Can you tell us where you attend high school? Who are your cross

country and track coaches?

JE - I go to University High here in Morgantown. Im coached by Ed

Frohnapfel and Josh Robinson. Also Aaron Nichols during the winter

months of indoor.

 

CM Can you tell us about your coaches and how they helped you

develop as a runner?

JE Ed is a very knowledgeable coach and understanding. He is helping

me take my running to the level I want it to be and for that Im very

grateful that I get to train under a coach like him. Josh Robinson, the

assistant coach, is a super chill guy and easy to get along with. Hes doing

a great job helping out the team. Aaron Nichols, my indoor coach,

prepared me very well this indoor season. He had been my middle school

coach which helped because he already knew me as a runner. He and I

get along really well.

 

CM What are some of your highlights from your freshman seasons in

cross country and indoor track?

JE Id say my proudest moment came for me in cross country when I

dropped a 15:42 at regionals. Up until then I was running in the 16:00s

and wanted a fast course to break 16, but I never expected myself to go

that low. My proudest moment in indoor was at Spire when I went 9:12 for

a 3200, for me that race showed me that I was a serious competitor

among the top in the nation, and it was a big payoff for the work I was

putting in.

 

CM What about your winter training. What did a typical week look

like for you during the winter in terms of mileage and workouts? Did

you do any weight training?

JE A typical week for me goes something along these lines. Sunday:

11-12 miles Monday: 7 miles easy Tuesday: Workout (usually more

speed based) Wednesday: 7 miles moderate effort Thursday: 7-8 miles

easy, with strides Friday: 6-7 miles easy Saturday: Workout (heavy

volume based).

 

CM I want to personally congratulate you on a killer 2 Mile Run at the

New Balance Nationals Indoor Championships. Can you talk a little

about that race, how you felt, and what were your expectations going

into that race?

JE Yeah, thanks man. The race was a great experience. Definitely not

like any other 2 mile I have run in the past, everyone was at each others

throats with a massive pack ripping through in the Armory. Before the

race there was a lot of mental preparation involved since that I was in

there with almost all seniors and me being a freshman. I just kept

remembering that I was supposed to be there and my fitness will do me

right.

 

CM Which race in the past gave you the confidence that you could

run with the best runners in the nation?

JE - Definitely Spire, that race proved to me and everyone around me

that I was ready for a race of that caliber such as New Balance.

 

CM Which of the three running seasons do you enjoy most? Why?

JE I definitely enjoy the weather that cross country provides, but Id

have to go with indoor its definitely a cool experience to be able to train

with other athletes from schools like Morgantown High. And even though

were supposed to be rivals, none of us feel that way and always hope for

the success of one another.

 

CM Now that outdoor track is upon us, can you tell us whats your

favorite distance in track?

JE Definitely the 3200, but Id like to test myself with some 800 races in

the near future.

 

CM Whats your favorite training workout?

JE Favorite workout is either 400 repeats or a 4-mile tempo. Although

two very different workouts, I find both to be very beneficial.

 

CM What would you say is your greatest strength as a runner?

JE I find running and training really fun which helps me have a positive

attitude towards the sport.

 

CM What would you say is the area that you would like to improve

upon over the next three years of high school?

JE I would definitely like to become a more aggressive runner.

 

CM What races are you looking forward to as you look ahead to the

rest of your track and field season?

JE - Im really excited to head to Hurricane for the Sheetz Invitational to

race southern teams, which is always a treat. Im also pumped for a 3k

Im running at Penn Relays as well as states. After that, Im heading down

to North Carolina for New Balance Nationals. Beyond that, Id like to dip

my toe in a track 5k and a steeplechase.

 

CM Finally, what kind of goals have you set for the outdoor track

season, and how do you feel about your progress up to this point?

JE - I'm not a big believer in goals. I know that if I work hard in the

upcoming months and push myself in races, I can produce a result that

Im happy with. My progress up until this point has been fairly smooth and

Id definitely like to keep it that way.

 

CM - Thanks for your time Josh! You are definitely ready for a great outdoor track season.

 

Submitted by Coach Mike McMillion (03/16/19)