Joe Waskom seems to relish being at the center of attention when it comes to running.
As a 6-year-old, he began tackling 5K fun runs and notched a string of victories. Now, as a Mount Si High junior distance runner, Waskom is all smiles and at ease when speaking about his craft. Prior to last week’s tri-meet with Issaquah and Bothell at Bothell High, he discussed his world of track and cross country while joking with a coach who strolled by and greeting his grandma as she neared the grandstand.
“I’m super excited for this track season. I’ve been waiting for it all year, I’ve been training hard, putting in a good amount of miles, trying to run my best,” said Waskom, who trekked to second in the 3,200 meters and fourth in the 1,600 meters as a sophomore at the 4A state meet last season. His top times in those races, respectively, are 9:14 and 4:16.
Waskom kicked off his Mount Si track career by qualifying for state in the 3,200 as a freshman. In one of the hardest races in his life, the harrier finished ninth in 9:28.
The Wildcat raises his head and sighs when thinking about that initial state race as if to say he’s come a long way since then.
There’s cross country on his docket as well, and he finished 10th at state last fall and competed at the premier event as a freshman and sophomore, too.
Waskom’s older sister, Hannah, has guided him along the way with her running success.
“Seeing her work hard every day made me even more motivated to work hard, put in the extra miles and try and get better so I can go to state,” he said of Hannah, who competed at Mount Si and now runs cross country and track at the University of Washington. “We’re super supportive of each other and we love to run together and it’s always just fun.”
The Waskoms are running in the footsteps of their mother, who competed in cross country and track at Washington State University.
Joe used to play soccer a kid, but kicking a ball didn’t strike a chord with him anymore when he grasped onto running. He hasn’t stopped lacing up his shoes and legging it out on the long-distance runs. He loves everything about the sport, he said.
“I thrive on it. It gets the adrenaline going, and every time I hear the splits, it makes me even want to go faster,” he said.