When his classmates in grade school spent lunch recess playing kickball or basketball, Johnny Bareis made other plans.
“In sixth grade I used to run around the school instead,” Bareis said. “I knew running was for me. I’ve been doing cross country since I was 10.”
Now a junior at Nazareth, Bareis finished 15th with a time of 17 minutes, 10 seconds at the Leyden Eagles Invitational Saturday at Center Point Preserve in Northlake to pace the Roadrunners.
Bareis believes there are plenty of life lessons to be learned through cross country.
“I like that it’s all mental,” Bareis said. “If you know you can outsmart yourself in the race to make your body go faster, you can outsmart yourself in school to do better as well. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Bareis is focusing on success during the upcoming postseason.
“My expectations are to get sub-16:30 and go to state,” Bareis said. “I have to get down to Peoria.”
The LaGrange Park resident also recently put himself in position to be an all-East Suburban Catholic medalist after placing 10th at the pre-ESCC Meet.
“His commitment is great,” Nazareth coach Kevin Milos said. “He’s a coachable kid and hangs on every word of (co-) coach Sean Banasiak and myself. He wants to do better. We see it every day at practice. He gets all of the kids up for the races. His personality is the type of kid you want to have on your team. He’s good spirited and always smiling. He is a great student-athlete.”
Being a role model for the Roadrunners is important to Bareis.
“Teammates come first,” Bareis said. “Even though this is an individual sport, overall you have to push your teammates all the time to help the team.”