Senior creates new habits, new goal

Sprinter Sean King is looking to win the Gophers’ first-ever Big Ten title in the 60-meter dash.

Megan Ryan

Senior Sean King made a decision in September.

The sprinter had spent four years on the Gophers track team without cracking the podium at the Big Ten championships or qualifying for the NCAA championships.

So for his last indoor season with Minnesota, he decided to do everything possible to change his unsatisfactory results.

“I had the whip on myself pretty good,” King said.

King’s training makeover involved changing physical as well as mental habits.

In addition to setting a firm bedtime for himself and learning to love weightlifting, King followed fellow senior sprinter Cameron Boy’s and junior thrower Jon Lehman’s nutrition regiment.

“If you’re not eating right, sleeping right, then you’re not recovering,” Boy said. “So all that time you spent on the track, all that time you spent in the weight room, becomes irrelevant.”

King said he had always taken vitamins, but now he pays more attention to eating enough vegetables, fiber, iron, protein and minerals.

Mentally, King said he shifted his focus.

“I stopped running for times,” King said. “I’ve started running to win.”

King currently ranks second on Minnesota’s record list for the 60-meter dash — only five-hundredths of a second away from friend and former teammate Ibrahim Kabia’s time.

Kabia said King is like a younger brother and it is only a matter of time before he surpasses the 2007 record — especially considering the extra motivation King has from past setbacks.

“He’s had a lot of disappointment early in his career with missing Big Ten finals and being sick when it comes to Big Ten conference meets,” Kabia said.

Although the record is in reach, assistant coach Paul Thornton said there is a bigger goal looming.

“We’ve never won the 60 meters at the Big Ten meet,” Thornton said. “Winning the Big Ten meet in a 60 meters would be greater than any time performance.”

King is set to make Gophers history. He currently has the fastest 60-meter time in the Big Ten and is 20th in the nation at 6.68 seconds.

With two meets left before the Big Ten Indoor championships, King will have to wait to see if putting together everything after four years is enough to make his last season the best.

“With anything you do, of course you have to prepare well,” King said. “And then, you have to love what you do.”