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. He’s 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
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 – Barbourville’s Jacob Burcham (2008) is considered the best track
and field distance runner at the middle school level in the state having
ran PR’s 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
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 it’s like
adjusting to high school, your coaches, and teammates?
JE - Going into high school was a lot easier than anticipated. I’ve 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. Don’t go in with the mentality that you’re better than
everyone else or it won’t 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. I’m 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 I’m 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. He’s 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 – I’d 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 16:00’s
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
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
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 other’s
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
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 I’d
have to go with indoor it’s definitely a cool experience to be able to train
with other athletes from schools like Morgantown High. And even though
we’re 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 what’s your
favorite distance in track?
JE – Definitely the 3200, but I’d like to test myself with some 800 races in
the near future.
CM – What’s 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 - I’m really excited to head to Hurricane for the Sheetz Invitational to
race southern teams, which is always a treat. I’m also pumped for a 3k
I’m running at Penn Relays as well as states. After that, I’m heading down
to North Carolina for New Balance Nationals. Beyond that, I’d 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
I’m happy with. My progress up until this point has been fairly smooth and
I’d 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)