WC’s Gaines making waves in first season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 4, 2002

[04/04/02]When Brad Gaines’ bike was broken two years ago, he started running alongside a friend’s to keep up. He’s barely stopped since.

The Warren Central freshman distance runner, who will help lead the Vikings into Saturday’s Coca-Cola relays at WC, has been impressive this season and the best, it would seem, is yet to come.

In only his first full season of varsity track, Gaines has broken the 5-minute mark in the mile and has run the two-mile in 10:31. The good start has him thinking big about the rest of his high school career, and the thoughts include shattering some records before he’s through.

“That’s good for my age right now. I’m running against seniors,” said Gaines, who finished second in the two-mile run at Vicksburg’s Dr. Pepper Relays on March 23. “I want to try to break 10 (minutes in the two-mile) this year and get into the nines. The high school record here is 9:40 and I want to try to break it my sophomore year.”

WC coach Morris Johnson said Gaines’ biggest challenge this year will be avoiding the frustration that may come with getting beat by more experienced runners like Pearl’s Shawn and Robert Stevenson.

“He’s going to improve as time goes on. He’s getting that experience that he needs against these good boys,” Johnson said. “He’s not on the level with the two Pearl boys yet. They have four years of experience and he’s got two track meets.”

Gaines also runs cross-country and does road races. He placed 15th in the state meet, and was 12th in the 10K Run Thru History.

Johnson said he’s cautioned Gaines about wearing himself out, but Gaines said he simply prefers running on courses.

“I like road races better. I don’t like running around on the track, but I’ll do it,” Gaines said. “I like to see things like trees and people.”

Gaines does most of his running locally, but this summer he plans to go to Australia for a cross country meet that will include high school runners from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Gaines said, adding that he was looking forward to the race more than the sightseeing. “Definitely the race. I’m hoping to do real good in it, at least in the top-20 or top-15. This is world-class runners that are in my age range. There are Junior Olympic runners, and I’m hoping to beat a lot of them.”