Josh Baden Has High Expectations for Team and Himself
Oct. 28, 2011
With the Big 12 Championships coming up this weekend, junior Josh Baden is going to have to show how much he has grown in his three years competing for the Jayhawk cross country team. He knows that he has to continue as a leader for the underclassmen who are experiencing their first conference championships.
“I feel like I have become more mentally strong and I have become a better team leader. I have been trying to lead the younger ones a lot because I’m an upperclassman and I know my responsibilities. I always try to lead by example and to do the right thing. I always need to work hard and be able to get everyone else to work hard with me,” Baden said.
Baden will be competing at his third consecutive Big 12 Cross Country Championships on Saturday, and after running a 25:52.99 at last year’s meet, he has a better idea of what to expect at a race of this magnitude.
“I feel like I’m a lot more prepared; I know we can run together as a team, and that’s something we really need to do. Our goal is to always do well as a team,” Baden said. “We have a really good conference for cross country. (One of our main goals is) to beat Texas A&M; we think if we can beat them, we have a really good chance at making nationals.”
Of course, Baden’s recent success hasn’t solely come his own. He attributes much of his accomplishments to assistant coach Michael Whittlesey.
“Ever since Coach Whitt got here my (redshirt freshman) year, he has really pushed me to run a lot better and succeed in everything I do,” Baden said. “He really motivates me well, and knows exactly what he needs to do to make me run better and perform (to the best of my abilities).”
With Coach Whittlesey’s help, Baden ran his strongest 8K time of his career, posting a 25:00.50 at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on October 14.
With the Big 12 Championships approaching, Baden knows that he will need to set some higher goals for himself for a meet of this magnitude, and as one of the leaders of the KU team, he knows what he will have to do.
“I just want try and hold the team together and run as a group. We’ll need to fight against the other teams,” Baden explained. “I’m really hoping to get a new personal record, and I definitely want to run a lot better than I have been. We need to stick together as a team and run as a pack.”
Not only has Baden himself improved this season, but he has noticed the entire team has made big strides this year.
“It’s really exciting how well we’re doing. Ever since I’ve come here, we’ve been improving constantly; especially this year, we’ve continually been getting better at every meet,” Baden said. “Everyone on the team has become really good friends, so we have very good chemistry. I really think that we are at the start of putting Kansas cross country back on the national level.”
As the team continually develops into a conference and national contender, and Josh Baden forges ahead as a leader of the Jayhawks, he has a clear idea of the goals he has set for the team, and for himself.
“As a team, we want to make nationals; that’s something we have spoken about since the beginning of the season. Personally, it’s the same thing; I really want to make nationals,” Baden concluded. “Throughout the rest of my career here, I just want to do the best that I can at every meet.”
When Baden’s career in the Crimson and Blue comes to a close, his running days will continue on. One of his future goals is to begin marathon training and to eventually qualify for the Olympic Trials, where his experiences as a Jayhawk will serve him well.