Q&A: State cross country champ Colby Otero

Kalaheo's Colby Otero, right, finished second to Avery Torres at the 2016 OIA championships before winning states a year later. Photo by Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser

He is a young man with ambitions.

The ceiling is way high for Colby Otero, who won the Honolulu Marathon/HHSAA boys cross country individual championship on Saturday with a time of 16 minutes, 21 seconds on the relatively flat course at Island School on Kauai.

But down the road, he’s got track goals, college dreams and, with his dad, hopes to compete in biathlons and triathlons. For now, the hard-working Kalaheo senior is enjoy some well-deserved rest time. Otero chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Wednesday.

HPW: What was this race like at Island School’s campus?

Otero: I felt pretty good. I took it on a harder pace, more of a risky race strategy. It was to try and break away earlier and reduce the chances of getting outkicked at the end. I went for it. It’s senior year, so why not do that strategy. It’s hit or miss. I talked a little about it with Coach Nate (Carlson), he’s an outside coach, and Coach Peter (Jay) and Coach Stan (Roth). I gave the same strategy to my teammates. Some of them used it.

HPW: I’ve driven past this school before and it’s kind of on the coast line, no slopes that I saw.

Otero: There weren’t any hills anywhere else to try and pull away. At the beginning, I was kind of nervous because a couple of people still stuck with me. Around the two-mile mark, the gap was the biggest. Near the end, everyone was starting to make up ground. There’s so many fast people in the race. A group of them were pretty good. It was a stacked race. But obviously, Hudson and a lot of the ILH guys were pretty fast.

HPW: As a team, Kalaheo boys finished fifth. That’s pretty solid for a smaller school competing statewide.

Otero: I didn’t expect (fourth-place) Maui to be so good. I expected us to get at least in the top five.

HPW: It’s been four days since the race and I’m thinking you probably should be resting those muscles and bones after a long grind.

Otero: I’m taking a full week off. I’m hanging out with friends, getting a lot of sleep. At least seven or eight hours. It feels kind of weird.

HPW: And it was your first season being the “old man” of the team.

Otero: I’ve been talking a lot more and nobody wants to talk about anything other than first place. So it’s become more of a social sport.

HPW: What is track season going to be like?

Otero: We have high goals. We have a pretty small team relatively speaking to Campbell and Radford that have huge amounts.

HPW: What are your PRs in track?

Otero:
3,000: 9:07
1,500: 4:13
800: it’s like 2:06

I might dabble with the 4×400

HPW: That’s a heavy load, and also 400? What’s your PR in the 4?

Otero: My best time in the 400 is 54. It’ll help with speed.
I did these in OIA trials, and 1500 and 3000 on championship day. This year I think we have a better chance in 4×400.

HPW: How will it probably flesh out? That’s a lot of events and energy.

Otero: I think I’m going to end up focusing on the 1,500 and 3,000 only because the 800 is a deep field. I’ll do it for the points and it’s senior year, and I want to get all the experience I can if possible. I’m excited. Hopefully we’ll have a good season team wise and individual wise.

HPW: How about winter season and swimming?

Otero: I’m kind of having second thoughts about that now.

HPW: Have you and your dad pencilled in any biathlons or triathlons for the summer yet?

Otero: We haven’t looked that far. That’s a pretty long ways away.

HPW: You’re still leaning toward college in the Northwest?

Otero: Yeah, we’re going to visit schools in the northwest: Seattle Pacific and St. Martin’s.

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