Goldsboro’s Jay Bass started to fall in love with running in the sixth grade.
He competed in a 5k race, which he completed in 24 minutes. Delighted by his time, Bass quickly realized he had a knack for running.
“I felt very accomplished, and that’s where my love of running distance really came from,” Bass said. “I kind of stuck with 5k races from there, and I joined the cross country team when I become a freshman in high school.
“I try to do better each time.”
Over the past couple of years, Bass has established himself as one of the best runners on Goldsboro’s cross country team. He was named the East Central 2A Conference Runner of the Year and had three first-place finishes this season.
And for his accomplishments, he this week’s Goldsboro Daily News Male athlete of the week.
Only a sophomore, Bass showed tremendous poise as he ran alongside upperclassmen. He can run a 5k in just under 18 minutes, and he has a positive attitude that rubs off on those around him up.
“My goal this year was to increase my placing,” Bass said. “Last year, I started off in eighth place, and by the end of the season, I was in second place, so this year I wanted to start getting first place sometimes because I knew I could be a contender for that spot.
“I stuck with it, and I worked really hard, and that’s part of the reason why I’m here.”
Despite the odd nature of the cross country season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bass said he will always have fond memories of his sophomore season to look back on.
Goldsboro head coach Michael Arnold said Bass is a humble student-athlete who is laser-focused on the task at hand. Bass does not worry about other runners but stays focused on himself, so he can try and set a new personal record.
Bass is one of the better runners Goldsboro has seen the past few years, and he quickly established himself as a mainstay this season.
“If I was running with the other team, I would kind of stay behind a little bit, and by the second lap, I would start moving up to try and reach the person in front, and eventually I would pass them,” Bass said.
Bass added he is incredibly grateful that the Cougars were able to have a cross country season.
He will enter the next season as the reigning runner of the year, and he appreciates the time he still has left in high school, so he can keep pursuing his goals and dreams.