Glendale junior Spencer Haik has developed into one of the premier distance runners in entire state over the last year. Last spring he brought home the Class 4 1600-meter title and he has carried that momentum into this season with four individual wins on the cross country course.
But it all might not have happened had he had perfect attendance in middle school.
"Back in middle school I skipped school one day for medical reasons and had to make up PE, so I ran. Then my coach (said) you might actually have some talent, why don't you come out and run. I gave it a shot and never stopped really," Haik said.
That led him to do track in middle school, but he only picked up cross country as a means to an end in high school.
"I started out doing track in middle school and then come to high school I figured cross country helps me prepare for track so I did it and have become better at it over the years," Haik said.
The track is where Spencer’s heart lies still to this day despite the success on the cross country course.
"When it comes to speed he likes that. When it comes to distance he tolerates it, and that is how some people are," Glendale cross country coach Jeff Berryessa.
One thing that has helped Haik excel is the presence of friend and competitor Chris Mooneyham. Mooneyham has finished second to Haik in each of his wins and won some races this year himself.
The two quickly became friends and training partners upon getting to Glendale.
“When they first came here Chris was a transfer and Spencer was a freshman. They bonded together and found out they could run with each other. They both have different styles, and they have both kind of blended their styles together to be able to do this," Berryessa said.
Haik enjoys having a runner the quality of Mooneyham to train with day in and day out.
"It helps me a lot because on days when I come in and I am not feeling the best I always have him to push me, so I am never slacking off," Haik said.
Haik has not gotten too deep into the recruiting process, but would like to attend a bigger school. Berryessa has nothing but confidence in his athlete as he runs for
Glendale for another year and a half before moving to the next level.
"He has the capcity for a tremendous future,” Berryessa said. “Any coach should feel lucky to have the talent (on their team) that he has."