It takes a little prodding from his younger brother before Sajid Amin modestly rattles off his class load.
The North Thurston High School junior is currently taking four AP classes, including calculus and physics, symphonic band – the clarinet is his instrument of choice – and Spanish 103, which is the third course of a first-year college-level class.
“I enjoy keeping myself busy,” Sajid said. “It keeps my mind from stagnating. I’m always moving from one thing to another. There’s not a lot of times during the school week where I’m sitting around. I usually have a task to do, and it keeps me on my toes.”
Sajid holds a 4.0 grade point average, as does his younger brother, Samir, a freshman at North Thurston whose slate is equally as full as his older sibling.
One of these task on the list would seem daunting. Mix everything together and it’s downright overwhelming.
“You just have to take it phase-by-phase,” said Sajid when asked how he’s able to juggle everything on his plate, adding that to be successful you can’t tackle the project in its entirety, but rather dedicate laser focus to each step along the way.
It’s the same approach Sajid and Samir have while they run.
The brothers also compete in cross country and track and field – as if their schedules weren’t packed enough already.
Sajid and Samir were the only members of the Rams’ cross country team to participate at last month’s state cross country meet, but that’s not to say they were alone in Pasco.
In addition to the North Thurston coaching staff, both boys’ and girls’ cross country teams, and a handful of other students, filed into three vans and made the trek over to Pasco to support the duo.
Sajid covered the near-3.1 mile distance in 17:00.4 in his state debut, while Samir stopped the clock in 16:45.8 – the fourth fastest time among freshmen runners in the 3A classification.
“Coming into North Thurston I didn’t know what sport I was going to do,” Sajid said. “I knew I wanted to do a sport and my friend just told me to do cross country. I never did distance running before. It was really eye opening. There’s this whole other world to running. I thought sprinting was everything. My freshman year I went in thinking I wasn’t a distance runner.”
Samir had a similar outlook.
“I really got a foundation for track in elementary school,” said Samir, who plays trumpet on the Rams’ marching and jazz bands, and also plays club soccer year-round. “I started with the 200 meter, and I finished in fifth place. I was really bad at it. The next year, in sixth grade, I really found myself. I set the record for the district in the 800.”
Samir duplicated the feat the following two years, leading him to the obvious.
“I knew sprinting wasn’t the thing anymore,” Samir said.
Self-described as the “last runner on the team” as a freshman, Sajid’s performance increased substantially with the arrival of his brother at North Thurston.
“This year I took it really serious. I didn’t notice I had something the first two years, but working with my brother made me push myself,” Sajid said. “I used to think getting to state was unrealistic. I don’t think I could have done it without him. Mentally, it’s hard to train. If I had to do that by myself this season. I wouldn’t have made it. We worked all summer for this.”
State cross country qualifiers aren’t made during the season, but in June, July and August when most students are enjoying summer break.
The Amin’s routine would consist of daily runs between 3 and 6 miles.
“I couldn’t go past 4 or 5 miles when we started (in the summer),” Samir said. “(Sajid) always stayed with me and helped me get through the workout.”
“I don’t think we could have got here without each other pushing,” Sajid said. “There’s a competitive aspect, but we also are working together. It’s less wanting to beat each other and more help each other get better.”
In addition to their lofty classwork load, band and striving to become Eagle Scouts, the brothers will add track to their to-do list in the spring. Sajid plans to compete in the 1,600 and 3,200, while Samir will run the 800.
“State was definitely one for the books,” Sajid said. “It was a good experience. All the practice and training it took to get there, it all adds up. It’s a cumulative effort. We’re just going to push and see how far we can go next year.”