MIDLOTHIAN, Va. Jason Witt was never intimidated being the fifth of six children in a family of champion runners.
Instead, Witt attributes his success as a runner to his family, who he says "expected success, and I never knew anything different."
Witt, a member of the Midlothian Ward, Richmond Virginia Midlothian Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was recently named All-Metro Track and Field Athlete of the Year by his local newspaper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
He recently graduated from Midlothian High School and will run for the Brigham Young University Cougars' cross country and track teams in the fall.
Each of the Witt children has run for the Midlothian High School track and cross country teams, where older siblings Shelly, Ryan and Kurt were all chosen as "Team MVP" at least one year during their high school careers. Ryan's 3,200-meter relay team set a state meet record in 2003 that still stands.
While at Midlothian High, Jason Witt raised the family bar to a new level. He was the district and regional cross country champion his sophomore through senior years, and during the same three years was chosen the Richmond-Metro Runner of the Year. During his senior season, he won the individual state cross country title, placed 16th at Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego, Calif., and received Virginia's Gatorade Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award.
At times throughout his career, injuries have kept him off the track, but Witt has learned that even setbacks can turn out to be blessings. During his freshman year, knee problems led to several months of physical therapy, which helped him to improve his running form. When he was able to compete again, he found his running was better than ever.
In the final race of his high school career May 31, Witt went out in style as he won the 3,200-meter run in the state Group AAA outdoor meet in Newport News, Va. Over the course of the outdoor season, he posted the best time in three events (a 4:12 1,600-meter run, a 1:55 800-meter run and a 9:09 3,200-meter run) in the final region outdoor rankings.
Witt's graduation is not likely to be the end of the family's running history at the school. Younger sister Amy is part of the girls' cross country team that has won the last three state team championships, and her coaches say she shows tremendous potential in track.
Besides their accomplishments in running, the children of Glen and Patty Witt have other successes in common. Shelly, Jenny, Ryan and Kurt all went to BYU, and three of them served LDS missions in Brazil.
Jason Witt also plans to serve a mission after his freshman year. In an interview with the Chesterfield Observer newspaper, he said, "I'm just going to focus on my work. I know it's the right thing for me to do. My church and my mission are more important to me than running."
When asked for tips for raising righteous children, Patty Witt said, "I think they just came that way. However, I do believe it has a lot to do with eating dinner together every day, and going to bed by 9 or 10 there's no substitute for that."