St. Francis junior John Santiago’s track career started with an accident.
As a freshman, Santiago wanted to play baseball but missed the team’s tryouts. He said he still wanted to play a spring sport, however. So that led him to consider track and field.
Santiago has since become an accomplished hurdler. He set a school record in the 300-meter hurdles last year and took fourth in the event at the Class 2A meet.
Santiago also is a running back for St. Francis and scored six touchdowns this past season. He talked with University of Minnesota student reporter Nate Gotlieb last week about hurdling, his goals for the upcoming track and field season and more.
Q: What do you like about hurdling?
A: I just like the rush, basically … 300 hurdles is mostly an endurance race, so it has room for error. I ran the 110-meter hurdles but wasn’t as good at it because they’re higher hurdles and I’m a shorter guy.
Q: What are your goals for this season?
A: Just to go to the state finals race again and then hopefully get at least on the podium, or maybe be a state champion or a state runner-up.
Q: What do you run besides the 300 hurdles?
A: My coach wants me to run the 110-meter hurdles because my jump has gotten stronger. My hurdle form has gotten better, and I’ve gotten a little taller since last year. But I run the 4-x-2 (800-meter relay, and sometimes I’ll run the 4-x-1 (400-meter relay) and also they want me to run the 4-x-4 (1,600-meter relay).
Q: What are your goals for those events?
A: Hopefully I can bring the 4-x-4 to state. Me and our 4-x-4 team are strong, ’cause we’re all back returning from last year, so hopefully we’ll be strong enough to go to state this year. Or a section finals would be great, too.
Q: How do you prepare for your races?