Senior Sendoff: Tishomingo County's Curt Carman

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This week in the MileSplit Mississippi 'Senior Sendoff' series, we are sending one of Mississippi's finest 800m runners... 

The 2021 MHSAA 4A State Champion and State Meet record holder in the 800m, from Tishomingo County HS, Curt Carman!

Carman will be joining Mississippi State University in the Fall, where he will be specializing in the 800m run. 

Mississippi State University is a public university based in Starkville, Miss. They fall within NCAA Division I Athletics, where they compete in the Southeastern Conference. 

The Bulldogs had one of the best 800m event squad rankings in the nation, finishing off the 2022 season as the No. 5 ranked 800m team in the nation with an average time of 1:47.97. Their top dog is none other than Navasky Anderson, the 2022 NCAA Division I Runner-up in the 800m and Jamacan National record holder with a time of 1:45.02. 

Carman's 800m PR is 1:57.09, set at the 2022 Mississippi Track and Field Meet of Champions with a runner-up finish against some of the best 800m runners in the state of Mississippi. 

Carman is a two-time state champion, winning the 2021 and 2022 MHSAA 4A State Title in the 800m, as well as a runner-up title in the 1600m in 2022, and finally, a fourth-place finish at the 2021 MHSAA 4A Cross Country State Championships

Once Carman is in Starkville, Miss., and is enrolled in classes, he will be focusing his academics on getting his degree in Aerospace Engineering. Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering concerned with the design, development, testing, and production of aircraft, spacecraft, and related systems and equipment.

We asked Carman some questions and insight in regards to his high school career, what he loves about running, and some advice that he would leave behind to all of the track and field athletes that are still on their journey. 

Check them out below!

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Q: Explain your 'running journey'... (How did you get into running, how did your senior season go, and how did you get connected with the college that you are going to?)

A: I started running because of my dad. When I was in middle school, I saw him training day in and day out to get better at running and I admired that. He was never very fast because of how late he started, but his training was enough to inspire me to start running. Throughout high school, I didn't have consistent training partners at my school. I had to find friends from other schools (or people who graduated school 30 years ago) to run with. I had so many people that taught me about running along the way. I didn't have many resources at school, but I found that there are always people around to learn from. My senior season, I didn't improve as much as I had wanted, but I still won state and am proud of the work I put it. I only got connected to MSU because of my dad, my coach, and so many other people constantly emailing the MSU coaches. There were a ton of people who helped get me on their radar and I could not have done it without them.

Q: What is your most memorable meet/race and why?

A: My junior season state championship 800m will always be my favorite race. I had a 2:04 PR going into that race, and I was the favorite to win. This terrified me. I was unbelievably nervous all day and I couldn't eat. When the gun went off, I went out very hot because I was SO scared of losing that race. I went out so much harder than I ever had, but I somehow held on (kinda). Coming down the home stretch, I felt like I was walking. I was in the most pain I've ever been in but I just didn't want to upset everyone who had come to support me. I hung on and ran a 1:59, which I didn't even consider a possibility before the race. That is the race that I really realized that I was getting good at running.

Q: Out of all your high school achievements, which one means the most to you and why?

A: I think getting valedictorian is probably the most meaningful achievement for me. I figured out what it was in probably 6th grade, and I wanted it more than anything since then. It means the most to me just because of how long I worked for it, and I believe it showed just how hard I had worked in so many different areas.

Q: If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

A: Honestly, I would spend more time with my friends. Even if that meant running less. I neglected a lot of friendships and spent a lot of time by myself. I think relationships are the most important part of life, and you shouldn't put anything over your relationships. I'm glad I figured this out now though! I would rather it be this than it be me putting work over my family in the future. You live and learn.

Q: Who is somebody that you look up to/someone that helped you along your journey to get you where you are today?

A: I was helped by so many people along the way, but I think I learned the most from my friend Colin Bonds. He graduated 5 years before me from Tish.  County, and he really set a precedent of excellence before me. He took me under his wing my sophomore year, came to my races, and took time to help me with my training. I wouldn't have gotten anywhere near where I did without him. He's been an amazing friend and role model, and we are still close.

Q: What will you miss the most?

A: I will miss running with friends the most. It didn't happen near as much as me running on my own, but I will always remember time with friends more.

Q: What piece of advice would you give to the younger athletes that are just getting started on their journey?

A: Everyone thinks racing is hard. Racing is the easy part, though. Getting up every single day and trying to get better even though you'll see no immediate progress is the hard part. It's demoralizing. Be consistent and put in the work so that race day is the easiest thing in the world.