Josiah MacInnis knows special things can happen when faced with the right kind of competition on the track.
Just last year, the Amarillo Tascosa (TX) High senior booked both of his indoor and outdoor PRs in the 400m when faced with stacked fields that pushed him to the finish.
That started first at the Great Southwest Indoor Classic in February when he logged a 48.65 and then followed at the AAU Region 18 Qualifier when he posted a 48.20, despite finishing just sixth.
"That was an amazing feeling to go across the line before Norman Grimes last year," said MacInnis, poking a little fun at his future Texas Tech teammate, whom he beat in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a year ago.
MacInnis could be ready to smash more PRs for his next trip back to Great Southwest on Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
The sprinter is entered in the 200m and 400m races, but he said he may trade in for the the 60m, too. Either way, his coach, Jay Belcher, says expect big things out of MacInnis.
"I think he can get out," Belcher said. "He's kind of one of those special athletes. He always amazes you when he goes out there. He can go out there and blow the time out of the water if he really gets after it."
MacInnis is sure to face the kind of competition he values. The 400m will feature at least three other runners with personal-record times under 49 seconds, including Randall Jubilee (48.56), Calahan Newsome (48.90) and Tre Harley (48.95)
"I think you can see the competitiveness in him," Belcher said, "and the desire to win."
And to think, MacInnis only began racing the 400m consistently a year ago, after considering the open race following some good performances in the 4x400 relay.
"He excelled in it," said Belcher, who added that Tascosa's relay team, anchored by MacInnis, broke the school record last year.
MacInnis still maintains his efforts in the 100m and 200m, where he's run a PR of 21.25 seconds, though there's something about the quarter lap that's so enticing for the senior out of West Texas.
On Albuquerque's banked track last year, MacInnis says he began to have an out-of-body experience.
"You can just really feel the speed," he said.
MacInnis' experience on indoor surfaces also should make a difference, too. While much of Texas track and field takes a break during the indoor season, some, like MacInnis, continue to tinker with their forms and try for bigger gains.
A year ago, MacInnis and his family made trips to Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas and then followed with stops in Arkansas and New Mexico over the last three months.
Belcher says that kind of commitment made the senior so much better.
"His family has really made great strides getting him there to those meets and he's run well," Belcher said. "It's nice to have an athlete that wants to do trials like that, and it's really going to help him in the long run."
MacInnis' training also accomplishes that goal. He says his favorite workout is a series of 300m runs that test his endurance and speed. Belcher adds that he amplifies the workouts by varying the active recovery and timed distances.
Plus, being in West Texas yields the kind of hill country that allows for strong closes, too.
"We go to Wildcat Bluff (a nature preserve) here in Amarillo one time a year," he said. "That's where the finishing comes from."
No doubt, MacInnis is eyeing some key times this season, including PRs in the 10m (10.6), 200m (21 seconds) and the 400m (46 seconds).
While some records seem a little more out of distance than others, MacInnis knows there are only a few meets that can yield the kind of performances that will elicit all-out races.
He'll be searching for "good competition" wherever he goes.
"I don't know what kind of competition will be there," Belcher said, "but I'm sure he'll show up and be ready to go."