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Maier aiming for All-American status

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Alex Maier

After a national runner-up finish in the outdoor 10,000 meter, Alex Maier is looking to carry momentum into cross country season.

Alex Maier was in a slump.

He’d grown a few inches since the previous season. His body was changing. After a decorated sophomore season at Lewisville Flower Mound High School in Flower Mound, Texas, he regressed in his junior year.

Dave Smith, OSU’s track and field coach, had been recruiting Maier for some time. He noticed the struggles. Amid the frustrations, Smith sat Maier down and looked him in the eyes.

“Your talent doesn’t go away,” Smith said. “I know it is there and you’ll run well again someday. We might have to do things differently but we’ll get you back there.”

The reaffirmation relaxed Maier. He eased up and went on to finish a two-time state champion and three-time high school All-American. Smith’s pitch also brought Maier to OSU, where he has become a national contender in the 5k and 10k races.

Maier focuses on the 5k during the indoor portion of the spring season, where he set a school record in the event this past weekend with a time of 13:25.79. The Cowboys will compete in the Big 12 Championships next weekend in Ames, Iowa, ahead of the national championship the weekend after.

“I feel like coming into it, I knew I was fitter than I’ve ever been before, but I think in some ways I’ve exceeded kind of what I thought I could do,” Maier said. “So, it has just been really exciting.”

Maier said he hopes to achieve All-American honors in indoors this season and reach the same status in the 10k event during the outdoor portion of the season when is starts in a month.

His personal record in the 10k is roughly 29 minutes, a number he said he hopes to shave down to around 27 this outdoor season.

He emphasized training to help improve his times. Maier isn’t invested in diet plans, he likes to eat what he wants, when he wants, but said most of the calories get burned off in running. His main focus has been base-building, which improves on aerobics, durability and stamina.

He has also increased his volume of running, clocking in 120 miles a week.

“That can vary, like in this past week in Seattle, I did the 5k and the mile, so I decreased my mileage for that week,” Maier said. “But usually in peak training it is between 110-120 for me.”

The heavy workload results in Maier tearing up his shoes quickly. He uses two pairs of running shoes, a pair of Nike Pegasus and Nike Odyssey, which get destroyed within a month of him using them. In a normal year, he could run through more than a dozen pairs of training shoes.

“His attitude, his work ethic, he is running 120 miles a week, he is doing all the little things right. He is just determined to be a great athlete,” Smith said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com