For the four men on Chico State’s track and field 4×400 relay team, it is the collective mindset and support within the quartet that makes them successful.
The four-man band consists of: junior hurdler Tristan Lake, junior 400-meter runner Geoff Brown, sophomore decathlete Lane Andrews and junior decathlete Phillip Bailey.
Runners in the 4×400 relay need to run for and focus for the team, said Oliver Hanf, the head men’s track and field coach.
“When you are running with the baton, and someone is waiting for the baton,” Hanf said, “you need to know that your responsibility is to get it to your teammate — fast and furious.”
Before every race, the four-man squad gets together to get everyone’s mindset on the same page for four laps of chaos.
“We kind of huddle up,” Lake said, “and look at each other and just be like ‘This is it.’”
Brown said it is easy for him to run his heart out for his teammates because he knows every breathe and every step he takes is for the other men standing in line, waiting for their turn to run as hard as the last one.
Bailey feeds off of the energy within his team so much that it almost puts him into a predator-like mentality, he said.
“I try and get into the mindset, like a killer-instinct kind of thing coming into it,” Bailey said.
As a whole, the team said that they have a stronger bond than other relay teams because some teams don’t train together. Teams don’t see each other during the day because they have practices at different times.
Plenty of teams would think of this as a disadvantage, but the Wildcat relay team thrives off of it.
“I think it shows how strong our relationships are with everyone on the team,” Brown said.
The bond they have translates to the track and their success so far this season.
The foursome ran a 3:14:46 to win their event at the American River College Invitational on March 29. It is the fastest time so far for the Wildcats this season.
It’s also the No. 10 overall fastest 4×400-meter time in Chico State history. The recorded time is roughly four seconds faster than any other team in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
As Chico State comes up to the midway point of the 2015 season, the relay team hopes to cut a few seconds off to qualify for Nationals.
The four of them want to keep improving their time so they peak with their best performance at the conference meet, Andrews said.
Every single one of them has the mindset of fighting for the brother standing beside them at the starting line.
“We have four guys on the team who are willing to put it all on the line when it comes down to it,” Brown said.
Dylan Wakefield and Matthew Vislosky can be reached at [email protected] or @dylan_wakefield and @MattVislosky on Twitter.