COVINGTON -- Hard work, dedication and spending time doing what has to be done has paid off for Eastside runner Adam Cook who recently signed with Georgia Tech.
Cook started running track as a seventh-grader at Clements. The first time he stepped on the track he knew one thing for sure -- he didn't like it.
"I didn't want to run track when I first started, I wanted to play football. My dad (Addison) told me that track helped football. He said it was a supplement," said Cook.
Throughout his middle school career and his first year at Eastside Cook ran the 1,600-meter and the 800. Neither event which he particularly cared for. He felt that the 800 was too long and he just didn't care for the mile.
When he started his sophomore year, he's not sure if he asked for the change or if the coaches approached him and said that they were readjusting the lineup. But the end result was the same, he was running the shorter 400.
It didn't take long to know that the right decision was made. Cook began to excel as he broke the 50-second mark. He set an official personal record of 49.32 seconds at the Carrollton Invitational last season and he set an unofficial time of 48.60 seconds while running the last leg of the 4X400 relay at the Class AAA State Meet.
Of course all the hard work and time spent to make it to the level he has achieved is not just on the runner. The parents and coaches also have to do what it takes. Even though Eastside head coach Frankey Iverson is away from his own family because of the time needed to be good, he said that in the end it's all worth it. Spoken like a true educator who cares.
"It's all about them anyway. That's all I really care about," said Iverson. "I've always told them if they could produce the times that I would try to find them somewhere to go if they wanted. They bought into it and they started to work hard."
Besides Georgia Tech, other colleges were also interested in Cook such as Kennesaw State and Troy. Other schools that talked to him were Georgia, Alabama and Florida State, but Tech eventually won out.
"It was being so close to home and their academics. I really liked Troy a lot, they had a great field and it felt like Covington. When I was in ninth grade I took a visit to Georgia State and I liked the feel. Since Georgia Tech is in the same area I loved it. After I visited Tech, I told my dad that Georgia Tech was like Georgia State on steroids," said Cook. "It's the feel and how close it is to home so I can come home and get a home-cooked meal."
On or off the track, Cook has a strategy and a routine that he follows. On the track, he learned his strategy from him mentor, Avard Moncur.
As a member of the Bahamian national team, Moncur won a silver medal in the 4x400 relay team in the 2008 Olympics in Bejing. He was also ranked No. 1 in the world in the 400 in 2001 winning gold in the World Championships in Edmonton.
"When I run I usually think about the strategy and how I'm going to come out. After I get to the first curve I think about where everyone is and whether I have enough footspeed to out-sprint them in the end or if I have more endurance to where I need to kick earlier," said Cook. "My mentor taught me to come out hard then stride the back straight then kick home for 200 to 150 meters out. I like to do that. That's usually when I run my best times. The coaches here agree that that's the best strategy to use.
"On the day of a meet, I'll eat oatmeal from McDonald's then eat a light lunch at school. I'll snack on a chewy bar throughout the day, then I'll just go run."