Derek Scott- Cornerstone University
NAIA track star
Derek Scott has been quietly been making a name for himself in the running world and many of you probably haven't heard of him. He runs for Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and competes in the NAIA. With so much attention to the Big 10 and MAC schools in Michigan, the smaller schools and their athletes - especially NAIA schools, sometimes get lost in the shuffle. After the year he had on the track last year and the cross country he had this season, he will surely be burning up the track again this year. Read on to find out more about Derek and his past accomplishments and future goals.
RM: Congratulations to you and your team on the great seasons you just had.
You ran a tough race and ended up in 7th place. What were you hoping to walk
away with place-wise in the individual race and how did you feel about the
way that the race panned out. With regard to the team race and Cornerstone's
11th place finish, how did you feel things went?
DS: The nationals race couldn't have went any better. We were ranked 19th as a
team and were hoping to beat that. We've felt all year that we were a top
10 team, but leading up to the race we went through so many injuries. We
had no idea how we were going to run. Taking 11th was a great victory from
God. Our Coach Nate VanHolten is unbelievable. He has done great things
with this team.
I had to take some time off before the meet due to injury and went to
physical therapy every day to try and get some improvement. Not knowing how
I would finish, becoming an All-American and finishing 7th was the best I
could of asked for. If I was healthy I'm not sure what would have happened.
Possibly a top 3 finish.
RM: Last year, you made quite a name for yourself on the NAIA national scene.
Indoors you were 2nd in the mile and outdoors your were 5th in the 1500 and
7th in the 800. What were your thoughts on your indoor and outdoor national
DS: Last years indoor nationals went very well. Besides a seconds place mile
finish our 4x800 also went All-American. I finished the mile with no
regrets. The competition was great and I had to beat some big names to
place second. It's almost bitter sweet, with the stiff competition, second
was good, but I was running for the win.
Outdoor didn't go that well for me. I was ranked number #1 in the 1500
going into the race. We went out extremely slow (2:18 at the 800). We ran
around 1:54/1:55 for the last 2 laps. My body didn't have it in the last
100 meters from running all the preliminary rounds of the 1500 and 800. I
was 5th but only a second away from the winner. I ran 3:59 and my best was
3:44. It’s hard to go home with a slow time and poor place. It was my 5th
race in 3 days. When I got to the 800 I was shot. I was unhappy with the
7th place finish.
RM: You had a great indoor and outdoor season last year time-wise as well.
For those that do not know, Derek ran 1:53.5, 2:28.0, 4:11.1, 8:26.7, and
14:37 indoors and ran 1:50.8, 3:44.8, 14:29.6, and 8:54 in the steeple
outdoors. What are your thoughts on your solid improvement from high
school, where you were a one-time state qualifier, and how did you make such
DS: I am extremely happy with the improvements I have made from High School. I
never thought these times were possible to tell you the truth. Cornerstone
has been such a blessing. My Coach, Nate VanHolten has made some
significant changes to my training and has helped me produce these times.
He puts in so much work and I thank him for that. I have increased some
mileage from high school, but it is still very low. I am only running about
50 miles on the road as compared to about 30 in high school. I do tons of
cross training on the elliptical to keep from injury. I have low bone
density which easily causes my legs to fracture. I've had three fractures
in the last three years. Overall, maturity has been the biggest factor.
Mentally I view running and training differently than in high school. Also
my body has matured as well. I have just gotten stronger over the last few
years. If I can stay healthy for a long period of time and actually run some
solid mileage, I could run some very fast times, God willing.
RM: What are some of your goals for the upcoming indoor and outdoor track
DS: I have some pretty big goals for the upcoming season. I set my sights
pretty high, sometimes I reach those goals and sometimes I don't. I try not
to limit my self in anyway. First of all I would like to win a National
championship. I've been runner up twice now and I’m ready to win now that
it’s my senior year. If the race is fast an NAIA national record could be a
possibility. However most national races are not that fast, just tactical.
Time wise my biggest goal is to run a sub 4 mile. If that is the only ting I
do this season I would be thrilled. I am going to focus on the mile and
steeplechase. Probably run a 5k in there too. I hope to run 8:40 for the
steeple and sub 14 for the 5k. My hope is to qualify for the US outdoor
championships in the steeple.
RM: What were some the reasons that made you choose Cornerstone as your
DS: Coming out of High School I was recruited by a few schools, some more than
others. I just felt Cornerstone was always there for me. They would let me
come and practice with them when I was a sophomore in High School. I wanted
to be on a team where I could make an impact and be in a Christian
environment. The school is close to home and it had the major I wanted to
study. I felt that God opened every door for me to come to Cornerstone. I
couldn't imagine being anywhere else. I have never regretted my decision. Thanks for the great interview Derek! (Interview conducted by Nick Cordes)