Sease rewrites records, earns Stripes Athlete of Year honors
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 1, 2017
TOKYO -- Britt Sease could have continued playing basketball, which he said he loved. But he decided to give that up after his freshman year to concentrate on cross country and track and field.
Given the outcome of his final three high school years, especially on the track, he feels he made the right choice.
The American School In Japan senior exits with his name etched in the Pacific record book in the 400 (48.06 seconds on May 16) and 800 (1 minute, 51.89 seconds on April 22). As a bonus, he and three teammates broke the 3,200-meter relay record, clocking 8:06.52 on April 29.
He also led the Mustangs to the boys Division I team title and was named boys D-I Athlete of the Far East meet. As a result of all that, he is the 2017 Stars and Stripes boys track and field Athlete of the Year.
“It’s crazy,” Sease said. “I’m really excited about how things turned out, very happy that the hard work paid off.”
Setting and re-setting those records in the 400 and 800, were the result of a rigorous workout regimen and a consistent diet, which Sease said he stuck to the entire season, however reluctantly.
“That’s probably the hardest thing for me,” Sease said of watching what he puts into his body.
“It takes a lot to hold back on some of the things I like to eat. Like, is this going to hurt me with running?” he said.
Sease said he was consistent in what he consumed the day before meets. “Pesto pasta; I’ve been doing that since the ninth grade,” he said. He might also have baked or roast chicken with rice.
Then there were his rigorous workouts. Preparing to run the 800 or 3,200 relay, Sease said he would run 600-meter increments, “15 seconds per 100,” he said, and preparing for the 400, he would run 300- and 200-meter increments.
“It’s tough,” Sease said of preparing for meets, week after week. “But I think it paid off in the end.”
Sease entered the season having already owned the 800-meter record, then broke it twice, 1:52.67 on April 15, followed by his 1:51.89 the next week.
In the 400, Sease opened the 2017 season with a 48.35 (.10 short of the record set by Kinnick’s Jabari Johnson last season), then he hit 48.06 on May 16 at the Kanto Plain finals.
“Britt has the admiration of all his track teammates,” ASIJ athletics director Brian Kelley said. “They see he’s an exceptionally talented runner. He’s a great teammate with an ability to motivate others.”
What does Sease hope to leave with those who come after him, as he embarks on a new chapter of running at the University of Arkansas?
“Keep working hard,” he said. “It takes time, but you’ll eventually get there. You have to put in the work, but it will pay off in the end.”