Entering the 2014 boys track and field season, not only do they have high expectations for themselves, but they also have high expectations for their teams. The trio of runners are middle distance and distance specialists, competing in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.
“I’m a front runner. I like to lead the guys,” said Farmer, a senior at Walton who won the Class AAAAAA 3,200 last year and placed second in the state in the 1,600. “I’m motivated and happy to see them succeed. It’s all a part of helping out with training.”
Farmer and former Walton standout Brian Sullivan combined to score Walton’s 34 points at the Class AAAAAA state meet last year, allowing the Raiders to finish fourth overall as a team. Farmer won’t have his wing-man this year with Sullivan running as a member of Georgia’s track and field team.
“It’s been tough since (Brian) left,” Farmer said. “He was a good training partner and it’s not as fun when you’re out there by yourself. I’m still motivated to get back to state and see what I can do.”
Farmer’s goals for the season don’t necessarily involve winning another state title. He wants to improve on his personal bests of 9:11.38 in the two-mile and 4:15.9 in the mile to prepare him for college.
“I’m not motivated on winning as I am just getting ready for the college season,” said Farmer, who has committed to Princeton. “I want to break nine minutes in the mile and go under 4:10 in the mile.”
Kell’s Logan Poteet has also put up some impressive times. As a sophomore last year, Poteet ran his personal best marks at the state meet, placing second in 9:33 in the 3,200 and outside the top five in the 1,600 (4:28).
As a junior, Poteet now takes on a leadership role as well with the Longhorns, given his experience and success.
Keough, a junior, does the same at Whitefield Academy. He does, however, have to train differently than Farmer and Poteet because he runs shorter distances. Last season, Keough placed second in the 800 (1:57.9) at the Class A meet and was the runner-up in the 1,600 (4:15.37).
“I more speed work because the 800 is like sprinting two laps around the track,” Keough said. “So, I work on my lactic acid levels and being able to breathe.”
As three of the state’s best distance runners, Farmer, Poteet and Keough share a bond.
“We’re blessed with a natural gift and we’ve honed our ability to use it,” Keough said. “I used to play tennis, but I quit it to run track because I knew how good I was at it.
“I was second in the 1,600 as a freshman and I finished second again last year. I’m hoping to end that streak this year. The chances of that are high, but I won’t get ahead of myself.”
Because they run in different classifications, the only real time Farmer, Poteet and Keough get to compete against each other is at the Cobb County Championship. Farmer won the 1,600 last season with Keough finishing fifth and Poteet 10th. There isn’t any kind of conflict among them. They each just want to get better at what they do.
“There’s no rivalry or anything between us,” Farmer said. “But, when you get to the line with these guys, we all have the same goals.
“I like racing with them. We have a mutual respect for each other.”