May 6, 2014
Senior Max Storms with dad, Mike, at the 2013 NCAA Midwest Regional
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Senior Max Storms closed out his time in the black and gold during the indoor season, bringing to an end one of the most successful careers for a distance runner in Missouri history. Both on the track and off, Storms took charge of his time as a Tiger and garnered numerous accolades including the Missouri School Record in the 10,000-meters (29:15.61), two NCAA Round One qualifications in the 10,000-meter run, an NCAA Cross Country All-Midwest Regional honor in 2012, two All-SEC finishes, and the highest finish for a Tiger man since 1972 at the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships, where he finished 56th.
Storms also helped lead the Tiger cross country men to a historic season in 2012 as they earned their first appearance in the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) National Rankings since 2000, starting the season at No. 30.
Storms arrived in Columbia in 2009 from Archbishop O'Hara HS in Kansas City, Mo. An exciting addition for the Tigers, Storms brought with him an MSHSAA Class 2 State Cross Country Championship title and eight All-MSHSAA finishes in both cross country and track. Five years later and, along with his numerous athletic accolades, Storms has also been honored by his teammates and coaches as a Team Captain, the 2010 Bill Rawson Award for Outstanding Freshman, and the 2011 Derrick Peterson Award.
More recently, though, was an accomplishment out of the Mizzou uniform as Storms qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the Marathon. He finished fourth overall at the 2013 Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon on November 2 with a final time of 1:04.28 to hit the qualifying standard and stamp his ticket for the Trials in Los Angeles, Calif.
Storms graduated magna cum laude in December 2013 to earn his B.S. in Civil Engineering, and is currently working toward his M.S. in Civil Engineering at Missouri. He is expected to graduate in May 2015.
MAX BY THE NUMBERS
ON THE TRACK
School Record Holder - 10k (29:15.61)
IN THE CLASSROOM
2013 SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year nominee
IN MAX'S WORDS
On how he got started...
I think, like most people, I started running track in gym class. We ran the mile every year for time starting in the third grade. Pretty much from the third to the eighth grade I was the fastest miler in my grade, so I've always known that I have a talent for distance running. I didn't start seriously competing until high school, though. My dad is an avid runer, and he gave me a lot of encouragement to run from a young age. He'd talk to me about the road races he'd won after college, and his high school cross country and track days. I guess in that regard, my start in track and field was in 1973 when Jerry Mathis convinced my dad to come out for the track team.
Why he chose the distance events...
My dad is a distance runner. Even today he runs 70+ miles a week. I think that drew me toward it, but once I started I really just fell in love with the sport and the process. In distance running, you can really see yourself getting better, and that just motivates you. I just really get a lot of satisfaction our of the training. I enjoy it.
His favorite memory before Mizzou...
Probably winning the conference cross country meet my junior year. I was a good runner before that - I'd been All-State in cross country and track. But that day, I ran away from my then-rival Maksim Korolev (who was third at NCAA's this fall) and broke the course record. That day I realized that I was good enough to compete with just about anybody.
On why he chose Missouri...
I was recruited by Jared Wlimes out of high school, and really established a great relationship with him during that process. I felt he was really honest with me, and he really put an emphasis on doing things the right way. He was committed to making Missouri great with guys mostly from Missouri, which appealed to me as well. Coach Wilmes had also gone to a small high school like me, and made a pretty big name for himself in college after winning a couple Big 8 titles. I felt he would be a great example to follow.
I also take a lot of pride in being a Missourian, and I love the University. Every time I put on a Mizzou singlet, I really felt like I was representing the entire state. That was important to me, even as a high school kid.
A key moment from the past five years...
My sophomore year during outdoor things really started to come together for me. That year I was coached by Fred Binggeli, and he really helped me believe that I was on the right path. I had a very rough cross country season, and my indoor season wasn't much better. But I opened the outdoor season with massive (personal records) in the 1500-meters and 5000-meters, and was able to win a few races. The times I ran were competitive, but more importantly I was finishing near or at the front of the races I was in.
His favorite Mizzou memory...
Picking one moment is impossible, so I'll give a couple. The Big 12 cross country trip my junior year is something I'll always remember. We had a great group of guys - Dan Quigley, Kyle Rood, Phil King, Hayden Legg, Tyler Compton, Merid Seleshi, Bryant Blahnik, Sam Dickerson, and Kevin McKee - and that trip everyone was on fire with the jokes, except Bryant. It was even funnior because he just kept trying to catch the magic, and all of his jokes just sucked. Even (Brian) Zuleger had a few good ones.
The next one that sticks out for me is when I looked back after I finished at Louisville my senior year in cross country. I came in 16th and immediately looked back to see the guys just pouring in one after another. It was awesome to see how far we'd come. When Phil Bascio came across the line as our seventh man under 25-minutes, I've never seen someone that happy. I was so proud. Bascio had spent most of college on the training room tables, multiple Achilles surgeries, a lot of bad luck. But he never gave up, and to see him rewarded for his perseverence, that was special.
On his qualification for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon...
I ran my qualifiying time at the Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon in November. I didn't have cross country (eligibility) left, and felt like it would keep me focused during the fall. I picked Indy because some of my friends from back home were running it, and I know the race director's assistant, Casey Collins, from a camp I went to in high school. Initially, I put Indy on my schedule just as an excuse to go to the city, run a race, and have a good time with friends afterwards. So, really, there was no pressure. I was a little unsure because the half-marathon was more than tice as long as any race I'd ever run, but there was no pressure as I would've had more than two years to run a qualifier (before the Trials).
I started doing workouts when official track practices began in September - I was only able to meet with the team a few times a week, and their training was suited towards the cross country season. It was difficult at first trying to find a balance, which is why I put the Indy Monumental Half on my schedule - just something to shoot for. I didn't have any expectations at all, a few of my friends were running it, so I figured I would head to Indy with them and at the very least it'd be a fun trip.
Normally during the fall, cross country is the focus; you have your teammates, and everyone is on the same page. I had less structure. I was also fortunate enough to be able to train with Scott MacPherson, who was a multiple-time All-American at Arkansas and an Olympic Trials qualifier in 2012, from time-to-time. Scott really helped get my head on straight - most of September I was really struggling to work without my teammates there every step of the way.
In October, I really found a good balance and it seemed like every week I was getting fitter and fitter. I found a good mix of training with the team, Scott, and on my own. I was able to try some things in training that I wouldn't normally do. I did some really long long runs, 20-22 milers, I had a lot more time to fit in training, which was different. Normally, I'd be racing every other weekend, but in the two months before Indy I only raced once, and it was a local road 10k that I used as a tempo run. So I showed up in Indy feeling really prepared for the half-marathon. It was a little scary, because it was more than twice as far as I'd ever raced, but I felt confident. And on race day everything went really well - I took to the distance really well, which excites me for the marathon down the road.
I'm in graduate school now. After that, I'm planning to keep training through to the 2016 Trials, give the marathon at least one good shot, and see where it takes me.
Q & A by Josh McSwain, Student Writer
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