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Interval Session #103 - Kyle MacIntosh

By Dave Devine - March 5, 2009

You’d expect a kid who garnered the nickname “Wheels” for his childhood velocity on the soccer pitch to be a decent runner on the track, but to go from a strong hurdler in the state of Colorado to a triple gold medal-winner at one of the biggest meets of the indoor season, all in the course of a year?  Obviously, Littleton CO senior Kyle MacIntosh needed more than the natural speed he first showed as a six year-old to make the leap from Colorado 5A runner-up in the 300m hurdles last spring, to 2009 Simplot Games champ in the 60m hurdles, 400m dash and 4x400 relay (with his ATS Elite teammates).  By his own account, he’s been putting in the hard work and finally seeing the national-level payoff from years of steady progression.

MacIntosh made headlines earlier in the winter with an MVP performance at the Air Force Invitational (7.96 60H, 49.40 400m and leg of 4x400 relay winners), and a solid 1-2 punch at the MLK Mile High Classic (a then-US#3 21.73 200, and runner-up 8.05 60H finish), but Simplot was his breakout performance for 2009.  He's closed the gap on in-state hurdle challengers like Tarique and Tashaun Hill (2nd and 3rd at Simplot) and figures to be a force in the Rocky Mountain region as the snow disappears and the tracksters head back outside for the spring.

DyeStat senior editor Dave Devine rips through some lead-leg drills with a rising star from the Mile High state.
1) Congrats on a great Simplot Games and your triple gold performance there.  Can you take us back through the weekend, how the various events went, and whether you found yourself tired or energized by the rounds of prelims and finals in your events?
Thanks!  The weekend went as planned.  I had enough time in between events to get a full recovery, and not running prelims in the 4x4 helped out a lot.  I was pleased with my 60m hurdle time of 7.90 and the 400m time of 48.02.  My conditioning helped me get through the weekend without a problem.

2) I understand you were struggling with a hamstring injury throughout the weekend, and had to get treatment on it between races.  If you don't mind sharing, what was the nature of the injury?  Did you have a hard time competing on it, given the circumstances, and how's it doing now?

The nature of the injury was not severe, just a mild strain from a few weeks back.  It was a little sore during the competition, but not enough to hinder my performances.  I took a week off from training after Simplot. The hamstring is fine now.

3) Coach Kula mentioned that one thing you've worked on this year is your top-end speed, and the results are obvious with your breakthroughs in the 60m hurdles and 200m dash.  What things in particular have you done to increase your speed, and what other things have been specific areas of focus for you this season as you've tried to raise your game to a national-elite level?
Speed workouts.  The speed workouts have really developed my fast twitch muscles.  The speed workouts combined with the strength I have gained from weight training have made a huge difference in my speed this year. Fine tuning my technique on the hurdles was vital for running  fast times in the 60m hurdles.  I have also been working on hurdling with my alternate leg for the 300/400m hurdles.  This is a must in order to reach national elite times in the 300/400m hurdles.

4) You've had success in the long sprints and hurdles this winter, but prior to this year it seems your greatest achievements came in the 300 hurdles, with a silver in the 5A state meet last year in outdoor track.  Do you see yourself primarily as a hurdler with some pretty good wheels, or a sprinter who's learned to handle the barriers?  If you had to project your best event down the road, what do you think it would be?
I would consider myself as a hurdler first, with some pretty good wheels.  I began hurdling at the young age of 11. I have always thought of myself as a hurdler.  This year the 60m hurdles has really come together for me.  I will be running the 110/400m hurdles and 400m for the University of Colorado.  The 400m hurdles should be my best event in college.

5) You've had the benefit of training with a club team in the winter (ATS Elite) and the continuity of having that club coach also be your coach at Littleton HS.  Can you talk about the two teams, if there's really any separation between them in your mind, and how the winter and the spring work together to develop the athletes on ATS Elite/Littleton HS?  Who in particular have you worked with, coaching-wise, and how has that coaching/collaboration/support helped you develop as a student athlete?
I am very fortunate to train year-round with Brian Kula, my club track coach as well as my high school coach.   I have been training with Coach Kula since I was 10 years old.  Coach Kula plans my training for the entire year, peaking me in the indoor season for the Simplot Games as well as for the Colorado High School State Championship.  The strength I have gained from the year-round weight training, speed workouts and hurdle training have really made the difference in my times this year.

6) Every track athlete has a story about how they ended up in the sport of track and field, whether they began at a young age in age-group meets, came to it from another sport, or were discovered running laps in gym class.  What's your personal story of finding success in track, and have you had to leave behind any early loves like baseball, football, soccer or basketball to become the runner you are today?

As a kid I always played soccer.  When I was 6 years old I was nicknamed "Wheels" by my coach. My mom saw that I flew past all the other kids on the soccer field.  When I was 9 years old she signed me up for the Hershey Track Meet.   I ended up winning the 5-state region.  From that competition I fell in love with track. 

7) I know you're excited about heading to the University of Colorado next year to become a Buffalo. How did the recruitment process unfold for you?  Did you know for a while you wanted to end up in Boulder, or was it a more prolonged and difficult decision?  What things about CU appeal to you and get you psyched about joining that team next year?

While on my official visit to CU I knew that it was the right fit for me.  I wanted to stay in-state.  I was looking for a sprints/hurdle coach that could continue to develop me and take me to the next level. The coaching staff and track program made it a done deal for me.  Coach Couts, a 13-time All-American, totally impressed me with his philosophy and training program.  Also, the Big 12 is a very strong track conference. 
8) Besides the sports aspect, what are you hoping to study in college next year?  Do you have any particular interests or passions you plan to pursue further in college, or which currently have to split time with track on your weekly list of Things to Do?

I haven't totally made up my mind yet on a major.  I am considering sports medicince and also construction management.  My passion is track.  I plan on devoting my full energy and time to my academics and track. In the free time, I like playing video games and hanging out with my buddies.

Photos: Robert Rosenberg at the 2009 Simplot Games.

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