MARYSVILLE — Marysville Getchell senior Garret Westover is described as “unsuspecting” and “quirky” by his track coach, Kim Edens.
He can even be described as shy, not wanting to attract overt attention.
But he leads the state right now in the 400 meters and has placed first in the 800 thrice. His fastest 400 time was April 16, finishing in 49.93 seconds.
Garrett had to build some confidence to get to where he is now.
“I just put a lot of hard work in over the summer,” he said. “But probably a lot of it has to do with me getting better naturally, getting better as you develop.”
He started running track and cross country for MG as a freshman. He ran just well enough to make varsity.
“It was cool that I was able to make it,” Westover said.
He ran a little bit of cross country in middle school but other than that he wasn’t much involved in sports, he said.
Though Westover was modest at his first attempts at running for MG, Edens always saw potential.
“He’s always been this awesome,” she said. “It just took some believing.”
With some encouragement and some coaching, Westover’s running skills began to prosper.
“He used to get lost in the race,” distance coach Mitchell Ryiter said. “He wouldn’t know how to pace himself.”
That “ah-ha” moment was when Edens and Ryiter saw Westover complete a strong 800 race during a Thursday meet last year.
Westover was able to follow and stick with a plan to win the race — like when to hit his splits or accelerate, Ryiter said.
Westover completed his race in 1:59.92. Not only was he first but it was his first race to run under two minutes.
“I like to push my body to the limit to see what it can do,” Westover said.
One of things that kept Westover running were the friends he made; he wasn’t very sociable before, he said.
He is also in Eden’s contemporary world events class, where she has noticed Garrett blossom socially.
“He makes funny remarks under his breath,” Edens said. “Everyone gets along with him.”
Westover trains every day except Sunday for recovery and religious obligations. He belongs to the Church of Latter Day Saints and belongs to their youth group.
Though Edens notes Westover’s work ethic, sometimes he can practice too hard.
“There are times where he has to hold back,” Edens said. “He would never miss a practice even if he was sick.”
“It’s taught me that hard work really pays off,” Westover said. “Even if you’re not good at something now, you can get better at it.”
His philosophy is to hit “a high moral standard, stay above it and never waiver.”
He follows that moral standard not only in track, but also in his day-to-day life, whether it’s respecting others or “not doing anything you would regret in the future,” such as drugs.
His set of morals can be observed on campus.
“He doesn’t judge anyone, and he is not going to be influenced by anyone in a negative way,” Edens said
Westover was accepted to Brigham Young University where he plans to study computer science and run track. He chose BYU because it’s a Mormon school and for its high moral code.
Edens would love to see Westover run the 1500 at the college level.
“But again he has to believe that is a good race for him,” she said.
Outside of running, Westover is a reader. He enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy work naming the “Wheel of Time” among his favorite series.
Advice Westover gives to fledging runners is this:
“Put a lot of hard work into it but also have fun doing it,” he said. “Otherwise, it’s not going to be worth it. If you enjoy it, you will have a better experience overall.”