Was competing in his third straight state tournament on Amos Schmidt's mind when he started the 2010 track and field season?
"It was," Schmidt said matter-of-factly Monday as he prepared for a workout at the Wadena High School track complex.
The muscular athlete has followed up an appearance to the Class Nine-man state football playoffs and the Class A state wrestling tournament this year with an appearance at the Class A state track and field meet in St. Paul.
For an athlete to make state in three different sports is a rarity -- a Triple Crown type of achievement.
The Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale senior will be running the 300 hurdles at Hamline University for the second year in a row. His 40.28 seed time represents his best effort in the event and ranks him 11th in an 18-man field. The top eight hurdlers will advance to Saturday's finals.
Schmidt ran a 42.4 last year at state after listening to a lot of the competition talk about not screwing up. He decided that kind of talk did him no good at all.
"I really just have to run my race and not worry about everybody else," Schmidt said.
Schmidt qualified for the Section 6A meet by taking second in the 300 and third in the 110 in sub-section action at Wadena May 27. The hard work all came down to one race and it was his runner-up time at Minnesota State-Moorhead June 3 that did the job. Long Prairie-Grey Eagle's Tony Szech was able to edge Schmidt at the finish line by running a 40.36 time.
Szech will be just one of the 17 men Schmidt will compete against Friday in the 300 hurdles. The best seed time in the event is a 39.22 turned in by Lanesboro/Central Fillmore's Jordan Jarland. Schmidt's older brother, Andrew, started the family hurdling tradition and competed in the Class A state tournament in the 300 in 2001. Amos naturally followed in his older brother's footsteps.
Schmidt already has his sights set on a career at Crown College, a private school located in St. Bonifacius 30 miles west of the Twin Cities. The Storm has recruited Schmidt to play football - his favorite sport - and will be getting the talents of an outstanding running back.
"That's the sport I like the best, it puts everything together," Schmidt said.
Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale track and field coach Jeff Moore had coached Schmidt since the seventh grade. In addition to being a disciple of weight training, Moore knows Schmidt to be a competitor and a deeply religious person.
"He likes the thrill of competing," Moore said. "He had a tremendous faith in God and that is what gives him the confidence he has. He has good leg strength and upper body strength. He is not a great sprinter but he just has that great strength and endurance.
What is the key to a strong performance at Hamline for Schmidt?
"He has to stay to the inside of the lane," Moore said. "He has to stay tighter in the curve. You're talking about half a second."