June 6, 2013
by Layne Herdt (Seminoles.com)-
There are 25 laps left in Mike Fout's track career at Florida State. When the senior steps up to the starting line for the 10,000 meter at the at the NCAA Championships this week, it will be his last chance to earn All-American honors on the track.
"I don't so much take it as a stressful event," senior Mike Fout said. "I just think I'd like to step up to the plate and perform for my team. It is my last shot so you've got to leave it all out there more so than any other time."
"He wants to finish it right, he wants to score for the team, maybe even high for the team," head track and field coach Bob Braman said. "It's a pretty big deal for a guy who really was a heralded runner coming out of high school."
Fout's journey to Florida State began in Indiana where he was raised by his grandparents who adopted him. Family has always been important to him as he began running thanks to his Uncle Jim who saw promise in Fout in middle school.
"He had just watched me running around the park in middle school and said, 'hey I think you really need to try running,'" Fout said. "It's not the most glamorous sport, but I didn't care. I really looked up to him and all that he had done so I took up his advice and started running."
Not having a traditional family did not slow Fout down, he even reconnected with his mother and the two have a strong relationship to this day.
"I tell people, especially who know me that they might think that I've had a really strange upbringing, but I honestly don't think it's that different from most people's," Fout said. "I was adopted by my grandparents when I was six months old and I want to throw out there that my mother is a huge part of my life. I talk to her all of the time, we have a very strong relationship, but initially my grandparents adopted me and my sister. [They] brought us up in a good Christian household and just instilled good values into us, so I'm very appreciative to them. As much as I thank my uncle for my running, I thank my grandparents just as much for bringing us up."
"Mike's had to do it the hard way," Braman said. "He was raised primarily by his grandparents and didn't have a lot of the things that other kids have had but he's been extraordinarily competitive to make his own mark and so that's a neat kid. The kind of kid you want to pattern your whole program after."
The senior has found success at every level in college, earning All-American honors twice in Cross Country including helping the Seminoles to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships in 2010. And excelling in the classroom earning ACC Scholar athlete of the Year honors in Cross Country using the same mindset as a student that he does as an runner.
"I just never found time for excuses," Fout said. "The library was my best friend and I was fortunate enough to graduate with some of those honors. It's tough work, but at the end of the day you've just got to do what you know you should do."
"He's a guy who gets it and says ok when my running career is over I want to be doing other things," Braman said. "He has that same competitive drive, that same thirst for knowledge that he does when he's out on the track running hard repeats for six times a mile."
Now Fout prepares to fight for the one honor that has alluded him, becoming an All-American on the track, making his final collegiate race even more special if he can accomplish the feat.
"I know where I need to be and I think some smarter tactics will get me there," Fout said. "I really look forward to hopefully getting one on the track finally. It would be nice to do that."