JON VITEZ, HADDONFIELD
Senior, 5-8, 115 pounds
JUST THE STATS: Vitez won the 3,200-meter run in a meet-record 8:58.81, the fastest time in the nation this season, at the Meet of Champions last Saturday at the Bennett Center in Toms River. On Feb. 23, Vitez split 4:14.6 on the distance medley relay to bring Haddonfield across first in 10:10.60 at the 73rd Eastern States Championships at the New Balance Track and Field Center in New York.
REACTION TO ACCOMPLISHMENTS: ``My reaction to my race on Saturday was simply, wow. I knew I was pretty fit and coach (Nick) Baker and I had talked about going under nine, but I've talked about doing a lot of things before and a lot of them haven't really panned out. It was an unbelievable feeling winning the MOC and I will never forget it.''
ON MEET RECORD, TOP U.S. TIME AND M OF C TITLE: ``To be honest, all of it is pretty surreal. In the race on Saturday, there was no clock, so I didn't really know how fast we were running. I heard the mile was in 4:30 or so, but after that I didn't know anything. When I crossed the line (teammate) Colin Baker was already out on the track and he gave me the thumbs down, which at first I thought was a bad thing. But then I realized it meant I went under 9. Winning the MOC was always a dream and for me to finally win one my senior year is an incredible feeling. Getting the meet record and having the No. 1 time in the nation are awesome, and it's kinda hard to believe that it's all true. As far as the DM goes, it's great to have three other guys to share your success with. Track is usually an individual sport, but I have always loved relays because it brings back that team aspect that you have in cross-country. It's great to run well, but when four guys run well and you accomplish something together, its even better than accomplishing something by yourself.
MINDSET GOING INTO M OF C: ``Coach (Nick) Baker and I were pretty confident going in because of the solid indoor season I have had thus far. This winter I somehow developed some leg speed and was able to split 1:57 on our 4x800, which really made us think I could lay down a fast mile and a fast two-mile. I feel I am better suited running longer distance, so splitting that time in an 800 gave me a lot of confidence. Mr. Baker and I thought that if I could stick around until 800 meters to go I would have a shot at winning. I was very fortunate the cards fell in my favor on Saturday and I give Jim a lot of credit for making the race what it was.
RACE PLAN: ``My plan on Saturday, as I said before, was pretty much just hang with the leaders and be in position in the later stages of the race. If the pace was slow we thought about taking over, but we figured with my new-found speed I would hopefully be able to close just as fast as anyone in the race.
BEST WEEK YOU'VE EVER HAD: ``Hands down. I have had my fair share of ups and downs in my running career, but this has to be my best week ever. I have learned to appreciate the great races when they come because they don't come that often, and this week I had two of them. I don't think anything tops that.'''
DM AND 4xMILE GOALS AT NATIONAL SCHOLASTIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: ``Our goals for nationals are to be competitive and to run fast. We want to try and come home with two national titles, but there is going to be some great competition there and nothing in track is a given. There are a couple state records that we are close to which would be cool to get, but we are mainly focused on bringing home two W's. As far as my individual goals, I just want to help our team win. I'd love to split close to 4:10 on either the DMR or 4xmile, but if I split 4:30 and we still win a national title, that's fine with me.
OUTDOOR SEASON GOALS: ``As of now, I'm still comprehending the fact that I actually won MOC on Saturday, so I don't have too many goals for outdoors yet. To throw a number out there, It would be cool if our DMR team could run close to 10:00, which we've found out is no easy feat. I'd also love to get in the fast heat of the two-mile at outdoor nationals, but that's a ways away, so I'll wait till indoors is over to make goals for outdoors.
FAVORITE MOVIE: Good Will Hunting.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Entourage.
FAVORITE FOOD: Buffalo chicken cheesesteak.
FAVORITE MUSIC: Rock and roll.
FAVORITE SUBJECT: Math.
FAVORITE ATHLETE: Jimmy Rollins.
HOBBIES: I almost played soccer in high school and I still enjoy that, and I like playing basketball and tennis as well.