Ryan Janes Interview
December 13, 2005
Ryan Janes is a senior at Gaithersburg High School and one of the top distance runners in the county. Ryan is a fearless runner who won the 2005 County and 4A West Region Cross Country Championships and finished 3rd at the 4A State Championship. He returns to indoor track on a quest to improve on his 4:23 mile and 9:40 2-mile personal bests and to help his team defend their county title.
MoCoRunning: When did you first start distance running? Why did you start?
Janes: I started Running in the spring of 9th grade because I won a time trial against the cross country team during the Fall while playing soccer. The coaches wanted me for spring track
MoCoRunning: What is your favorite aspect of running?
Janes: My favorite aspect of running is just being able to get out and think about stuff and just get away from everything. Sometimes it's very relaxing.
MoCoRunning: You were on fire during the 2005 cross-country season. What kind of
training did you do over the summer to prepare yourself?
Janes: Training? I just tried to get out everyday and get some decent miles in.
That, however, can be a big challenge when you have like 50 things going
on all day, but I tried to get out there. Going to cross country camp
helped a lot, too.
MoCoRunning: What other kinds of things were you up to over the summer?
Janes: Three jobs, vacations, girlfriend.
MoCoRunning: The only runner in the county to beat you in a cross country race last
Fall was Georgetown Prep's Steven Duplinsky. Do you expect to experience the same kind
of dominance in the county in the upcoming Indoor and Outdoor Track
Janes: I would like to think so. I mean... I love running cross country, but I
have always been one of the better milers and two milers so I'm
expecting even better results indoor.
MoCoRunning: What events are you planning on focusing on?
Janes: I'm going to focus on bringing my mile time below 4:20 and
two mile time below 9:30 indoors so that sets me up going into the
MoCoRunning: Who do you expect will be your greatest competition in the county in
Janes: I'm guessing Tarik [Aougab, Churchill] will be my greatest competition in the mile. I'm
really not sure about the two mile at this point. Maybe Chris Barnard [Sherwood].
MoCoRunning: Who do you expect will be your greatest competition on the state level?
What are you doing to prepare to race against these individuals?
Janes: Centrowitz [Broadneck] and Gelagle [Eleanor Roosevelt] will be the greatest at the state level. I'm just going to fight the cold and get out and run.
MoCoRunning: What should we expect to see from your team this upcoming season?
Janes: Well, our distance is young but we have a lot of kids that have the
potential of putting up some good times. Our field events and
jumpers are really good as always, and I expect to see some good things
from our sprinters also.
MoCoRunning: What are you thinking as far as running in college?
Janes: Umm I really want to run in college but I have no idea where that
is going to take place right now.
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Ricky Flynn Interview
December 13, 2005
Ricky Flynn is a graduate from Damascus High School, Class of 2005. He experienced great success as a distance runner for the Damascus Hornets, including an individual 4A Cross Country State Title in 2003. He's still a Hornet, but now he runs for the Lynchburg College Hornets, an NCAA Division III school in Lynchburg, Virginia. Thus far in his freshman campaign he has been named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year and qualified individually to run at the NCAA National Championships where he placed 97th. He discusses his remarkable cross country season and explains what the future holds for him.
MoCoRunning: As a former state champion, you surely got offers to run at NCAA Division I schools. Why did you opt for Division III? Why did you choose Lynchburg?
Flynn: I decided to run at a DIII school because I knew I would be more comfortable at a DIII school. Lynchburg was the only DIII school that I was looking at, mainly because my brother went here. Lynchburg had everything I wanted, good academics and a competitive running program. I would recommend DIII schools to high school athletes, especially Lynchburg, because who wants to go to a DI school and get trashed in all the meets? You would most likely never get a chance to run in big meets such as Nationals or Regionals. A sub par DI school running wise is not as good as a good DIII school, in my opinion.
MoCoRunning: Obviously you came into the season with a solid base. What kind of training did your college coach ask you to do over the summer?
Flynn: My coach asked me to run an average of about 50 miles a week, with a high week of 75. However, I didn't really follow this plan exactly. I hit a high week of 60 miles which is plenty for me because I always fear burning out in such a long season.
MoCoRunning: You experienced tremendous success in you first season of college cross country. How did you manage to adjust to the longer 8k race so quickly?
Flynn: I think I didn't really adjust to the 8k, it was more like I was more suited for the 8k I guess.
MoCoRunning: Is it easy to qualify for Nationals in Division III? What do you have to do to qualify?
Flynn: No, it was not easy to qualify for Nationals in DIII. I had to come in the top four in regionals. I had to put all the remarks aside, saying, "He can't do it. He's only a freshman," and just run. I had nothing to lose and it paid off. I had to battle some of the top seniors in the region and conference.
MoCoRunning: Can you describe some of your memorable moments from this season?
Flynn: My most memorable moments from this XC season was of course, qualifying for Nationals. I passed the 4th place guy at regionals with less than an 800 to go and I never looked back. When I crossed the line, I was thrilled, and running a season PR of 25:21 was quite pleasing too.
Also, running at Nationals was quite memorable as well because of all the talented runners around and the chaos going on. I couldn't even hear myself breath at all during the race.
MoCoRunning: What is ahead for you? Are you running indoor and outdoor track? If so, what are some of your goals?
Flynn: I am running indoor and outdoor track. I don't really have any goals for track right now, except to have healthy seasons and see what happens.
MoCoRunning: What are your goals for next cross country season?
Flynn:My goals for next XC season are to qualify for Nationals again, and maybe even earn All-American if possible. Also to win the ODAC [Old Dominion Athletic Conference] and regional races and to break 24:52 to earn the top time at Lyncburg College of all time.
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Veronica Salcido Interview
January 12, 2006
by Ron Burgundy
Veronica Salcido is a sophmore at Wootton High School and is already one of the premier distance and middle distance runners in the area. She established herself during her freshman cross country season, but really broke out during indoor track where she ascended the competition and started winning championship races and setting records. Veronica holds indoor county records in the 500m and the 800m and is a defending state champ in the 1600m run. In outdoor track, she dominated the county competition and finished 2nd in the state in the 800m and the 1600m. Armed with multiple records, titles, and All-Met selections, but hampered by injury, she is looking to get back into form for a new season with some lofty goals.
MoCoRunning: You took the county by storm in your very first year in high school. When did you first start competing in running as a sport, and how did you get involved with it?
Salcido: I started running when I was 11 years old by running with my younger brother once in a while. But I really started competing at age 13.
MoCoRunning: What is your favorite of the three seasons (XC, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track) and why?
Salcido: Outdoor track; because of the nice weather and it is usually when everyone is in top shape.
MoCoRunning: What kind of summer training did you do to prepare for this upcoming year? Was it different from the summer before your freshman year, and if so, how?
Salcido: I trained with the D.C. Redwings road runners in contrast to my freshman year because of the great number of miles.
MoCoRunning: Many argue over what indoor track is best used for regarding base training, racing and peaking. How do you plan to use your indoor season this year?
Salcido: Base training; I usually think indoor is used for racing and maintaining the racing attitude for outdoor. But this year I'm using it as base trainging because of my injury.
MoCoRunning: You ran an amazing race indoors last year to win the state 1600m. Who do you think will be your top competition this season within the county and on the state level?
Salcido: Louise Hannallah from Churchill really stepped it up this year. I see her really becoming great.
MoCoRunning: With the amazing range you showed indoor last year, from winning a state championship in the 1600m to setting the county record in the 500m and 800m, which event(s) do you plan to focus on this year?
Salcido: I really don't know. I really love racing and I feel greedy wanting to run every event. I really enjoy running the 400 but I think I'm going to focus on the 800 and 1600.
MoCoRunning: What goals have you set for yourself this season and this year?
Salcido: This season I'm trying to get off my injury and run a very fast 1600.
MoCoRunning: Itís hard to believe that you are still only a sophomore. The possibilities must seem endless. What are your long-term goals that you will be reaching towards during your high school career?
Salcido: To get All-Met again and run in the low 4:40's [pr is 4:57 in the 1600m].
MoCoRunning: Have you ever experienced a major injury, and if so, how did you deal with it?
Salcido: Yes, right now! This is the first injury that I can't run through. It's very hard to be told not to run, but I'm trying not to let it hold me back by swimming and biking.
MoCoRunning: Do you like to use cross training methods or strength work to enhance your training?
Salcido: I did over the Summer, but I just ended up burning myself out. Now, I just do a little strenth work to get stronger in order to prepapare and not burn myself out.
MoCoRunning: What other passions do you have; or, what interests do you pursue outside of running, and how do you find the time to manage running, your other activities, and school?
Salcido: I really don't have anything else but I wish I did. I don't beacuse I have to manage spending time with my family, school, friends, and running. It is very stressful, but it all really pays off.
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Bret Ligon Interview
January 13, 2006
by Ron Burgundy
Bret Ligon is one of the most exciting runners in the county who seems to have an extra spring in his stride this season. He has been very successful in all events from the 200m to the 800m to the 5km in cross country, but he loves the relays the most. He will be the first to tell you that running track is about contributing to your team no matter what it takes. As a senior at Richard Montgomery, he discusses how he got where he is and how he expects his last year of running in high school to play out.
MoCoRunning: How do you pronounce Ligon?
Ligon: That would be Ligon (Lih-ghen), or ďLiggenĒ. It has however, been apt
pronounced with a very French accent, Lijon, like Dijon mustard, as it
by a certain coach giving out trophies at Woodward Relays (the cross
one). Whatever really. Itís open for interpretation, I respond to
MoCoRunning: How did you get into or what made you start running, and track
Ligon: I was always one of the faster kids, but I never took it seriously
high school. Before I got into high school, I was a big baseball guy.
got turned off from the sport, especially when I was primarily being
a pinch runner. If you're being used as a runner for another sport, do
yourself a favor and get out of it and join a track team. I tried my
at indoor my freshman year, and I havenít looked back since.
MoCoRunning: This year you have been on fire, literally. But you also ran XC and
able to hang up there in the varsity races. How do you feel that XC
helped you for track, or has it at all?
Ligon: XC most definitely helps track, even the sprints. It lets you run
into oxygen debt before you feel anything in a race. It gives you
to practice harder and longer, so you can get more work out of every
practice. That and it just simply keeps you on a strict regimen from
through November, so you're always active, and especially if you train
XC over the summer.
MoCoRunning: What type of training plan are you following this year for indoor and
Ligon: This year Iíve worked with my coach coming up with some plans, who has
turn done a lot of homework to develop different workouts, which is
appreciated. But really, weíre following the standard plan: build up
strong base first, then work on speed from there. Weíre not, however,
developing the sprinting side of things, outdoor is our focus, where
everything starts again.
MoCoRunning: You and your team look like they will be top contenders in almost any
and meet they run. What are some of your goals for both you and your
this year (indoor and outdoor)?
Ligon: My goals and the teamís goals are pretty similar really. As an entire
we are looking at placing overall at States. Itís a lofty goal, but we
working on it, and if everything does work, it can happen. Our relay
I know are capable of placing at States. Our 4x4 took fourth at States
outdoor season with a 3:25, our (theirs really) PR, without me running
had mono). We are returning all of our runners from that squad, so we
all really excited to see what we can do. Personally, I just want to
in whatever I end up running at States. I really want the 500 though,
especially after false starting last year. Just a little bit of
MoCoRunning: You are truly a versatile athlete and have had great success in
from the 200m to the 800m. What do you plan to really focus on this
Ligon: My main focuses (foci?) are the 500, 800 and 4x4 indoors, and then the
800 and 4x4 outdoors. I really love running anything from the 200 to
800. Each race is enjoyable to me.
MoCoRunning: What is your favorite event in all of track (indoor or outdoor, open or
relays) and why?
Ligon: My favorite event of all time is the 4x4 outdoor. There isnít a more exciting race anywhere than the 4x4. Four people, one lap a person (duh). Itís the
event of the day, so any temporary grudges you build up from other
all taken out in the 4x4. The mentality of a 400 as a part of a relays
so much more enjoyable and exciting than an open 400. Every leg is up
some upsets, and everybody loves it when some random guy comes out of
nowhere and kills everybody.
MoCoRunning: Who do you consider to be your biggest competition in these events at
Ligon: For the shorter stuff, I see the crew from Paint Branch as my biggest
competition. They have the 200, 300, 400 and 500 covered with Marcus
Antony. In the 800, thereís a bit more competition. Chris Moen, Tarik
Aougab (hope he gets healthy), Will ZahorodnyÖRyan Janes can always run
good 800, and Iím sure thereís more. Sorry if I left anyone out. I
disrespect to anybody, do not take my stupidity for an insult. Just
that the 800 has the potential to be the sickest event this year.
MoCoRunning: What is the most memorable experience you have had during your running
Ligon: I love going up to Penn Relays. Itís more competition than States, the
atmosphere is unparalleled, and there really isnít any pressure. Itís
probably the best race Iíve run in ever. Then, of course, itís
with the college athletes and finally the pros. Outside of the races,
you're in a hotel with your team. You can do whatever. You can walk
Philly and find some cheese steaks, and then just watch everyone
The entire Penn experience is my most memorable by far. [Above picture is from Penn Relays]
MoCoRunning: Does Richard Montgomery have any new runners or rising stars that other
county athletes should watch out for?
Ligon: I think our most underrated runner at this point is Ben Hoyt. Heís a
sophomore, and heís already posting some impressive times. He beat me at
numerous times, but thatís not the biggest accomplishment anyways.
him to bust out in the mile and two mile once he actually gets
with indoors and gets comfortable. That and always watch out for our
Thatís our pride and joy. But you already knew that. Other than that,
think people know our runners.
MoCoRunning: Do you have any hobbies or other things that you really enjoy doing
of track and running?
Ligon: Iíve been playing guitar for a while. Iíve noodled a bit with drums. I
music, whether itís making it or listening to it, just preferably
Like everyone else really, I like to chill with friends and my lady
whose name I will not disclose, as she embarrasses easily.
MoCoRunning: (That's what she gets for dating a celeb) Whoís the man? Walter Johnson with their Fireworks and Potato Cannons
Brian Sickles, and why?
Ligon: Well, I'm gonna have to go with Sickles. Heís just the man. I canít
explain it, like I can't explain why Wendyís after a cross country meet
so good, like I can't explain why Chipotle keeps putting that nasty
algae-crap in their rice. Thereís no explanation.
That and I just havenít seen any of WJís fireworks go off. I saw them,
they were not in the act of combusting.
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But Sickles is the man. Hands down. The man!
Will Palmer Interview
February 1, 2006
Will Palmer is a junior at Whitman High School. He is a living example of how far one can get with hard work. As he emerges as one of the top distance runners in the state, he reflects on how he transformed from a junior varsity cross country runner into a county champ and record holder in the indoor 3200m run (9:45.9).
MoCoRunning: When and why did you start running?
Palmer: I came out for cross country at the beginning of freshman year like most other people. Over the summer my mom had been telling me that I was going to join cross country - just to try it. Against my will, I did. I didnít train at all over the summer despite her telling me I should, which I regretted later in the season. Now after 7Ĺ seasons of running, Iím pretty much hooked for life!
MoCoRunning: Unlike some other distance stars, you werenít exactly a freshman phenom. Donít get me wrong, you were good, but you were working to make the varsity squad just like most of the other freshman. What were your feelings towards cross-country and track back then? What were some of your goals and did you ever think that you would accomplish the things that you have so far?
Palmer: When I first started out running cross country I wasnít even one of the top two freshmanÖI was third. During that first season I just kept trying to improve and move up on the team standings. By the time counties rolled around I was one of the top two freshman on the team and one of the seniors on the team told me I definitely had a chance to win the race. That was the first time I ever won a race (although it came down to a fierce kick with Zack Friedman). That was when I realized that I might be able to be a varsity member by sophomore year. The one race that really got me hooked to track and the 1600m was Virginia Tech my freshman year. There I almost broke 5 minutes and from that point on that became my goal. During outdoor my goal became sub 4:40 and to make states, but neither happened until sophomore year. I really didnít have any idea that I would get as far as I have. Hopefully I will keep improving.
MoCoRunning: Why do you continue running? What is your favorite aspect about distance running?
Palmer: When I first started I continued just because I didnít want to quit. After the cross country season my freshman year though, I had started to really enjoy running. Now its to the point that I really canít live without it. When I was sidelined last year during the outdoor track season it drove me crazy. I really enjoy the aspect of being able to push yourself further and further and train harder and harder for a tangible goal. My favorite aspect of distance running would have to be long runs. Theyíre a time where I can just go out alone and reflect on past races and upcoming ones, and just let my mind wander. They always feel so refreshing and are just a chance for me to get away from everything else. The other thing I really like about distance running is talent means almost nothing. There isnít another sport out there that will reward you for hard work as much as running. I love seeing the underdog work their butt off in practice and over the summer and then beat the snot out of some guy that they never thought they could beat. It really happens all the time, even between teammates, its just a matter of keeping your eye open. Anything can happen!!!
MoCoRunning: This past cross country season you established yourself as one of the elite distance runners in the state by finishing in the top 10 in the county, region, and state. What training did you do over the summer to improve so much?
Palmer: This summer was radically different from the previous two summersÖI actually trained and that really made a difference. Throughout the entire season I felt much stronger and was able to put in many more quality workouts. Over the summer I really just focused on base and putting in the miles. My total mileage for the summer was 600-700ish. The other thing I did was attend running camp with my team (and Matt Centrowitz [Broadneck HS], Matt Llano [Broadneck], and Rob Kelvey [Westminster HS]). It was a great time and running with some other top guys in the state really motivated me to work even harder.
MoCoRunning: What is your favorite season? What is your favorite event to run?
Palmer: My favorite season by far is cross countryÖhands down. It's definitely the most team oriented and the friends Iíve made through the sport will last a life time. I also love the different terrains that XC has to throw at youÖthe track can get really monotonous sometimes (especially for 16 laps). My favorite event, however, is now the 3200m, even though this is the first year that Iíve really concentrated on it. Freshman and sophomore years I was really drawn to the 1600m but after I made states in the 3200m during indoor of my sophomore year the 3200m has been my favorite. A lot of people donít like the number of laps, especially in indoor, but I think itís definitely the event that tests a runner the most.
MoCoRunning: You have run several great 3200m races this season and now you have earned yourself a county title and a county record in the 3200m. Did you have any particular strategy for that race or did you simply jump at the opportunity to take the lead at the end when you saw it?
Palmer: The county race is the only race that I actually planned out this season. I reviewed what I was going to do numerous times on my long run the day before. I basically took all the mistakes I made at the developmental meet and Montgomery Invite and tried to come up with something that wouldnít give me problems and would be the easiest to work with. I just stuck to plan and it worked out. The county record was really unexpected. I didnít actually know that I set it until much after the race. It was more icing on the cake than anything else.
MoCoRunning: How did you feel when you found out that you had set the indoor county record?
Palmer: Well in all seriousness, first thing I thought was "I'm going to Disney World!" And then I realized, wait a second, this is high school track. But I still smiled and went to eat a powerbar to maintain my chiseled 6"1 135lb frame
MoCoRunning: What event(s) will you most likely focus on at regionals and states?
Palmer: At regionals and states I plan to focus on the same events I ran at counties: 4x800m, 3200m and 800m. Itís the best triple for me because the 4x800m and 1600m really donít leave much rest at states. Right now Iím just hoping to help my team qualify in the 4x800m so some really deserving kids can make it as well as mix things up in the open 800m. That race is always one of the most interesting because anything can happen when fatigue sets in.
MoCoRunning: Youíre still just a junior. Now that youíve had a taste at a championship victory and record, what do you set your sights on? What kind of goals do you have for this year?
Palmer: Before I graduate I really just want to win at least one state championship. I donít really have any plan to accomplish it other than just train hard and keep working. The one thing that running (and some of my former teammates) has taught me is that talent means almost nothing, and that anyone can rise to the top and accomplish some incredible things if they have the drive to do so and put in the work.
MoCoRunning: Many have claimed that if there were a large violent battle among the county high school cross-country and track teams, Whitman would easily be the first full team gone. What would you say in response to this claim?
Palmer: Many people underestimate the fighting skills of the Whitman XC team. Just because our only knowledge of violence is limited to shocking TV reports about some gang in D.C. and halo clans duking it out virtually, that doesnít mean we can't handle our own. The halo experience really pertains to real life. We can pwn all n00bs in a halo contestÖhands down (Sam Epstein is the leader here). Zack Friedman is also the sketchiest character out there (heís the Matt Centrowitz of fights), so his skills put us above and beyond challengers like WJ and Chris Moen, or RM and Brian SicklesÖFriedman can take them all single handedly. But if the fight goes awry, I'll be the first one to run away, seeing as how thatís about the only thing Iím good at.
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Leslie Morrison Interview
February 1, 2006
by Ron Burgundy
Only a sophomore, Leslie Morrison is a relatively new face on the track this year in MoCo. She is the anchor leg of the dominant Whitman 4x800m relay and runs the 1200m leg in their just as impressive DMR. She is coming off one of the most incredible performances at the MoCo championships. She shattered the county 500m meet record with a time of 1:16.87, which put her 4th on the Dye Stat National Elite Performance List #5. She also anchored Whitman's county record 4x800m of 9:43.71 and won the 800m in a fantastic time of 2:21.80. Morrison takes some time to reflect on how she started running, her training, goals and more.
MoCoRunning: Congratulations on your dominant performances at the county meet! How did it feel to win three events? Were you expecting that kind of success, or did it come as a surprise?
Morrison: It felt really great to win three events. The 4x800 was exciting and Katie, Katharine, and Morgane did so well in each leg. I was kind of expecting a win in the 4x800Öwe had won it at the Montgomery Invitational, and everyone on the relay is strong. In the 500, I had no idea what to expect. I hadn't run it this season, but I had run the 400 before. Breaking the county record came as a big surprise. In the 800, I knew that if I ran well, I could stay with the leaders, so that wasn't as much of a surprise.
MoCoRunning: How did you first get involved in running competitively?
Morrison: I first got involved because of my older sister, Meg. She was a senior when I was a freshman, and I figured if I ran track, I could stay fit for soccer and spend time with my sister who enjoyed track so much.
MoCoRunning: What type of training do you and your team do (specifically 4x800m) and how does it benefit you in big meet situations?
Morrison: Our team rotates hard and easy days. Easy days are long runs from 4-8 miles around the neighborhood. Hard days are usually track workouts, some combinations of 200s, 400s, 600s, 1000s, and 1600s. These benefit our team during big meet situations because we have developed both speed and endurance.
MoCoRunning: We've noticed that you and your relay teammates make it a point to cheer for each other during the relay races. How do you believe this helps your team both during the race and in the long run? Do you believe that good team chemistry has been a factor in your relay success?
Morrison: During a race, it helps to hear Katie, Katharine, and Morgane all cheering. If I feel tired, I can hear their cheers and pick it up. These other girls are depending on my time as well. Our team chemistry is an important part of our success. Our close bond makes me want to perform my very best for my teammates.
MoCoRunning: The county (and state) has now seen you compete in 4 events (4x800, DMR, 500 and 800). What is your favorite, and why?
Morrison: I don't know if I could choose a favorite. They're all different. The 4x800 and the DMR have the aspect of teamwork, which I love. For the 800 and the 500, these are individual events, so I am competing for myself. The 500 is all about speed, while the 800 has a lot of will involved.
MoCoRunning: What are some of your goals for this season, this year, and your high school career?
Morrison: For the season, I want the 4x800 to finish well in the regional meet and states. I want to do well in the 800 and the 500, and go to states in both races. For the year, I want the success of this season to carry over into outdoor and improve. For my high school career, it would be nice to win a state title, but going to states in general is just as nice.
MoCoRunning: What was the most important lesson that running has taught you. How do you plan to use that knowledge as you approach this season/year?
Morrison: The most important lesson running has taught me is to be methodical and dedicated. If you put in the time and effort, you'll see results. That is how I approach each season. I go to practice and push myself, so when races come, I will be prepared.
MoCoRunning: What has been the most memorable experience (meet, win, or anything along those lines) that track has brought you?
Morrison: One of the most memorable experiences was coming in second in the 4x800 last year at states. When I crossed the finish line, and saw all my teammate's expressions, it was great.
MoCoRunning: The word is that you are also pretty involved in the Whitman soccer program. How do you balance time between soccer, track and school, and how much of your time during the track season do you devote to soccer?
Morrison: Balancing between soccer and track is difficult. During track season, I am on a club soccer team. I go to every track practice, which sometimes means missing a soccer practice. But during the fall, I have high school soccer everyday.
MoCoRunning: Do you have any other major interests outside of track and soccer, and if so what?
Morrison: Outside of track and soccer, I don't have another major interest. I do enjoy volunteering at a nature camp during the summer that I attended when I was younger. I also enjoy the art classes I am taking at my high school.
MoCoRunning: People are dying to knowÖwhat is up with the hair? Is there any particular reason for the purple?
Morrison: Well, the reason I dyed my hair a magenta shade is because I also did the same thing over the summer. No one would expect me to do it, so I figured, why not?
MoCoRunning: Why not, indeed. That's been the story of your season. You stay classy, Leslie.
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Marcus Wyche Interview
February 5, 2006
by David Warren
Marcus Wyche, a senior at Paint Branch High School, is one of the fastest sprinters in the county and in the state. After giving up high school basketball in his junior year, he really made a name for himself as a 400m runner outdoors when he finished 2nd at counties with a 49.9, 1st at regionals, and 6th at states. After several indoor meets, it is clear that Marcus is running faster than he was this time last year and he has a county title in the 300m (35.40) to show for it. He also placed 2nd in the 500m dash (1:07.6) and is the heart of the very fast PB 4x400m relay (3:24.93 at VA Tech) which could assault the Maryland State Record (3:25.28).
Dave: Whats up Marcus, hows it going man?
Wyche: It's going fine. Indoor season has been pretty good so far. I'd just like to say MoCo sprints are on a come up. RM, PB and other sprint squads have elevated Montomery County sprints. MoCo might be the best sprinting and best distance county boys-wise in the state...which would make us the best county in Maryland overall. What a great year to be a senior! Fellas, I hope we can continue this come outdoors.
Dave: Marcus, what initially made you want to run track?
Wyche: I started running track in eighth grade at the middle school track challenge when my middle school gym teacher asked me to run, but I almost stopped the very next year. After my JV basketball season I was tired and just wanted to stay home and hang out with my friends and stuff. Then my father talked me into getting off my lazy butt and getting out there and running outdoor track. I'm glad he did that though; hey, maybe grownups do know what they're talking about, MAYBE!
Dave: You gave up a potential starting role on a high quality basketball team as a junior to run indoor with the goal of building a base for outdoor. Now in your senior year are you content with your decision to leave basketball behind?
Wyche: I still love basketball but I've grown to love track as well. Basketball and track are both great sports, but track has more opportunities for kids than basketball. In track you're rated by colleges on times alone no matter if you're running in Utah or California...a time is a time, period. In basketball you're rated on so many other variables. For example the guy who scores 20 ppg [points per game] in Montgomery County wont get as much love from colleges as the guy scoring 14 ppg in private school leagues. Also during my high school years I've seen more high school track stars receive college scholarships than basketball stars. So, yes I'm content with my decision.
Dave: What have you done differently since last year to get ready for this years track season?
Wyche: This summer was the first year I ran summer track. I ran for the Humming Birds and it was a great experience for me. I got to train with some of Maryland's best athletes such as Kai Roper [Dematha Catholic] and Larone Moore [Northwestern-PG]. Running against other elite athletes at Associations and Regionals was also great for me. Summer track showed me where I was at and where I needed to be. I'd advise any runner who wants to run in college or just improve to run summer track also. During the fall I just ran a little to stay in shape, but this fall I gave my body a little more rest since I'd been running three straight seasons.
Dave: Other than running the events, what are your favorite parts of track meets?
Wyche: Other than the running events my favorite aspect of the track meets is socializing with my teammates and meeting new people from other teams. Also after you've finished running for the day there's no greater feeling than getting some nachos and pigging out.
Dave: What is your favorite event in track and field and why do you find that event more appealing than all of the others?
Wyche: My favorite event in track is the open 200m. The 200 is appealing to me because I excel at it more than I do in the 100, and while I excel more in the 400, the 200 is less painful. So it's kind of like a middle ground for me and it's always fun to run because you can see how long you can hold your max speed.
Dave: What kind of team goals does the paint branch squad have for this indoor championship run and for the outdoor season?
Wyche: Paint Branch just wants to do their best at every event we participate in.
Dave: Well how about individually? What kind of goals do you have before you end your high school career?
Wyche: Individually I'd like to be a state champion and make All-Met. But if I miss those goals and still know that I've tried my hardest, I'll still be satisfied.
Dave: Paint Branch in the past 6 or 7 years has been very dominant in the 4x4 winning several state championships. I know the goal is to return to that level, but after you seniors have graduated, assess the future of the Paint Branch sprinters.
Wyche: Paint Branch will be fine after Antony Kironji, Dominic McDonald, Daniel Fowler, Arnaud Abega (who's playing basketball right now but will likely be back during outdoor), Ghee Statham, and I graduate. If you're a senior on Paint Branch and I forgot you, I'm sorry. We have, to me, the top Junior sprinter in Quadell Spratley who got 3rd in counties in the 300, then split a 51 [4x400m] indoors at VT. He really stepped up there for us. We have an up-and-coming sophmore hurdler and 400m+ runner in Nick South, plus a couple other runners we are developing including my litter brother Malcolm Wyche, a freshman sprinter.
Dave: You have had some 400m races under 50. What is it going to take for you to be under 50 seconds more consistently?
Wyche: Going under 50 is no easy task. In order for me to go under 50 more often I'm going to have to just train harder and take care of my body. I think Coach Hopkins has me on the right path right now so I hope I'll be there come outdoors.
Dave: When you are out of high school, what school are you running for and what are you studying?
Wyche: I have no idea where I'll be running but I'll most likely be a computer science major
Dave: I always see the pb relay squads rockin the church socks. Whats up with that?
Wyche: We rock church socks because they're unique. They're light just like track socks plus to me at least they symbolize my faith in God.
[MoCoRunning]: Boxers or Briefs?
Wyche: Iím a boxers man!
Dave: Who talks more trash on PB's squad: The Brit (tea drinker), the Jamaican ,or the Kenyan?
Wyche: Daniel (The Brit) and I probally talk the most trash on our team. Dominic, the Jamaican, talks sometimes and Dominic and Daniel are always competing. The Kenyan, Antony Kironji, is cocky but quiet about it. He talks trash sometimes too.
Dave: If you have the weekend off of track, how are you spending your time?
Wyche: If I have the weekend off from track, I'm either hanging out with my boys playing Madden or Halo or going to a party with them...or I'm spending some quality time with my family...or I'm hanging out with my girl friend, Angel.
Dave: You have one kid on your team who has run in maybe two or three events in the past three years, but never misses a meet, even Penn or VT. Is he the ultimate track and field fan?
Wyche: The kid you're talking about is my best friend Cory. No he is not the ultimate track fan. If you take away the girls from track he'd probably hate the sport, but he's a funny guy and brings a lot of laughter to the team. Every team should have a Cory on it!
Thank you mocorunning.com for the exposure you're giving Montgomery County track athletes. This is a great site and keep up the good work.
MoCoRunning: Thank you Marcus, and good luck with all your meets and college decisions in the next several months.
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Matt Miller Interview
March 1, 2006
Matt Miller, a senior at Richard Montgomery, has affirmed himself as the best shot putter in the county and the state. He has won multiple county titles (the picture to the left is Miller (left) and teammates Keenan Crutchfield (middle) and Bret Ligon (right) after winning their respective indoor county titles). He has also won three state titles over his last three track seasons and won't be letting up in his final outdoor season. He explains the keys to his success and settles the debate of the perfect chipotle burrito.
MoCoRunning: We hear that you also like to play football. Are you also accomplished in football like you are in the shot put? What are some of the honors and achievements that you are most proud of in football?
Miller: Not like in shotput. I played center, which is quite possibly the most unglorified position on the field, aside from referee. I received honorable mention from the Gazette and the Sentinal. Had I played guard or tackle I would have made all-county (yes, I am disgruntled but wouldnít you be after blocking for two 1500+ yard running backs and not getting credit?).
MoCoRunning: Yes! I hate it when that happens! When did you pick up shot putting and why?
Miller: I started shotput sophomore year just to stay in shape for football. I kept doing it that year because I found myself becoming stronger, quicker, and especially more balanced. Good thing I stuck with it!
MoCoRunning: What advice do you have for other athletes who want to succeed in the shot put?
Miller: I just would tell someone to put everything they have into the sport. Youíd be surprised how far hard work alone can get you. Focus on explosive lifts in the weight room (especially for the lower body), study Olympians and their form and donít get lazy with nutrition and conditioning. Even though youíre a shotputter you donít want to have like 40% bodyfat!
MoCoRunning: What is the funniest or most amazing thing that has ever happened at a meet or practice? Have you ever run on any of the so-called ďfat man relays.Ē
Miller: The funniest thing during practice is always when people fall while throwing. Some of my teammates are more prone to falling than others. The most amazing thing ever was when I was trying to train to throw the hammer last summer Öthe ball broke away from the chain! Luckily no one got hurt.
I have never run in a ďhorizontally-challenged person relayĒ. Although, last year, I think we could have broken the world record. All of us were 240+ pounds. Two of us ran 5.0 seconds, one ran a 4.9 and one ran a 4.7. (These of course are 40 yd dash times because a shotputter probably couldnít make it any farther.)
MoCoRunning: Outdoor track is coming up. Do you hope to improve on your discus throw this season?
Miller: Thatís definitely the plan. I am a rotational shotputter so my work during indoor has improved my discus throw without even picking the discus up. I plan on spending more time on discus this year than last season.
MoCoRunning: You arenít the only athlete who drastically improved this season. What do you intend to do to hold off the other county competitors who have approached or eclipsed 50 feet? Do you have any particular goals for this outdoor season?
Miller: Quite simply, I plan to outwork them. I have a great coach, Coach Quinn, who pushes me every day to do my best. Not to offend any of my competitors, but I guarantee my training is more rigorous than their training is.
My goal for this season is to try to qualify for Penn Relays and Nationals.
MoCoRunning: Do you intend on competing in college (football and/or T&F) and do you know where that might be yet?
Miller: I intend to compete in Track and Field and I hope to do that at the University of Maryland. Football would require me to grow like four more inches to play at Maryland. I might think about walking onÖmaybeÖ
MoCoRunning: How many slices of CiCiís pizza can you put away??
Miller: Iíve only been there twice, both times before football games. My coach, knowing lineman, gave us a 20 slice limit before even entering the restaurant.
MoCoRunning: Finally, itís the question on everyoneís mind: what is the perfect Chipotle burrito and how many can you put away?
Miller: The perfect burrito is barbacoa, plenty of rice, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, and all the salsas (no guacamole!). I once ate 3 after not eating all day. I ran out of money but I think I was good for 8 to 10.
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Elias Tousley Interview
March 5, 2006
Elias Tousley is a junior at B-CC High School and is one of the most exciting distance runners in the state. He has become known for carefully paced races and a deadly kick. He placed 5th in the State Championship Cross Country Meet and is coming off a series of great indoor track performances including 3rd in the state in the 1600m (4:27), and 7th in the state in the 800m.
MoCoRunning: First order of business. Is it Elias or Michael?
Tousley: Itís Elias. Michael is my first name, but my dad goes by Mike, so my parents figured out early on that calling me by my middle name (Elias) was less confusing. Thanks for letting me clear that up.
MoCoRunning: When did you begin running and why did you start?
Tousley: I started running in 7th grade, when I lived in Juneau, Alaska. I joined the cross-country team at my middle school to get in shape for soccer with a couple of my friends. I didnít start training very seriously until high school, but I feel certain that sprinting through dark Alaskan forests to escape bears was a catalyst for both my current interest in running and my fear of snapping twigs.
MoCoRunning: You went from 40th in the 2004 cross-country state championship to 5th in the 2005 cross-country state championship. What could you possibly have done over the summer to improve that much?
Tousley: Actually, all I did was run at an easy to medium pace for an hour every day and a 90 minute run on Sundays. The most important thing was consistency, since I had never trained during the summer before. Other than that, I did some flexibility drills and striders when I felt like it. I also spent a lot of time reading about training and successful runners online. I learned a lot about stuff like proper form, race tactics, typical high school training systems, and mental characteristics of good runners. I felt a lot more confident that I was doing the best thing for long-term improvement after doing all the research. I also realized that I was pretty slow and I had some work to do. Next summer Iíd like to add in a few more difficult workouts, but still nothing that really beats me up.
MoCoRunning: What season do you like the most and why?
Tousley: Thatís a tough question. I like the team aspect of cross-country but I feel more comfortable on the track. On the other hand, this indoor season was really cool because I got to meet a lot of guys that I used to idolize and they all went out of their way to congratulate me or wish me good luck. Iíll say cross-country because itís more satisfying for me to play a role in shaping a team than it is to run a fast time and pat myself on the back.
MoCoRunning: What is your favorite track race and why?
Tousley: Right now I definitely favor the 1600. I have a better feel for pushing myself in the 1600 than the 800 or 3200. If our school manages to put together a decent 4x8, that might become my favorite, since itís like cross-country in that you feel a responsibility to do well for your team, not just yourself.
MoCoRunning: What is your typical race strategy for an 800m race? What about for a 1600m race?
Tousley: Well, my goal is always to run an even-paced race. I do a pretty good job of this in the 800 because I always feel too uncomfortable to speed up. It looks like I start in back and kick, but at states, for example I went something like 30-31-32-30 for my 200 splits. The thing is that everyone tends to start out really quick and fall off the pace. The 1600 is a little different. If the pace is conservative, I like to stick with the pack and rely on my kick. If itís faster, I try to run even splits as accurately as possible.
MoCoRunning: Did you make any adjustments to these plans for the indoor state championship? Do you ever change your plans half way through the race?
Tousley: Nope, I didnít have a set strategy beforehand. I was seeded 8th in the 1600 and 11th in the 800, so I was sort of hoping just to compete a little and not be completely run over. Plus there was no pressure because our coach made sure that we saw indoor as relaxed training for outdoor. The 1600 turned out to be the perfect race for me because I love going out slow. I think everyone was watching Matt Centrowitz, and he hung out right next to me near the back because he had been sick. The one tactical error that I think I made was letting Matt Llano and Matt Centrowitz get away with 400 or so to go. At that point I was wondering what was going on behind me to give me such good position. . Eventually I realized I had to go. I think I got really lucky in that Centrowitz ran conservatively, Chris Moen was sick at regionals, and Mikias Gelagle focused on the 3200. I knew that there were really a lot of guys that could beat me in that race, so I was very excited to pick up third.
The 800 was sort of the opposite, because I try to avoid going out fast and those guys took it out in 27. I was shooting for a 2:00 pace but I got a little nervous after 400 and slowed down. Still, I was happy to place ahead of Llano and I ran a PR, so I didnít have a whole lot of reasons to complain.
MoCoRunning: At the indoor state championship, had you picked out Matt Llano from Broadneck as someone to stay with or did you two just happen to be right together at the end of both races?
Tousley: No, that wasnít a strategy or anything. I think maybe we were just both in similar shape. The 1600 turned out really bittersweet because I came so close to 2nd and couldnít get it. Then again, the 800 probably felt similar to him.
MoCoRunning: You also ended up finishing right next to teammate Chris Bowie in almost every single cross country race last Fall. Do you two plan on working together during races or are you secretly always trying to beat each other?
Tousley: I should get this out of the way. I hate Chris Bowie with a deep and inexpressible passion. I often formulate cunning plans of sabotage, only to be foiled at the last moment by Chrisís indomitable intellect. However, the Northwest cross-country team can verify that during a dual meet, I managed to succeed. With a reasonable lead, Chris and I arrived at a fork in the path and I slyly led him in the wrong direction. By the time he realized, the deceptively fast Northwest pack had already pulled ahead by a sizeable margin. Chris was so dumbfounded that he couldnít initiate his deadly kick, and Raphael Chazelle and I escaped into the sunset.
MoCoRunning: What is your proudest accomplishment up through this point in your career?
Tousley: My proudest accomplishment took place during last yearís indoor season. Andrew Jesien was warming up and he ran out through the door next to where I was stretching. Several minutes later someone knocked on the door. I opened it and Andrew Jesien said ďthanksĒ to me.
Well, it was either that or the County B meet during outdoor last year. I won the distance triple with 3 PRís after getting a 5 on the AP NSL Government exam in the morning. I owe it all to Coach Gilmore, who happened to be my NSL teacher as well.
MoCoRunning: What are your goals for the future in track and cross country?
Iíd like to continue to steadily improve. I havenít gone a season without setting a few PRís since freshman year. I always expect to run faster, even if itís not by much. Aside from that Iíd like to win as much as possible. Haha. Cross-country next year will be a big deal for Chris and me because we really want to go 1-2 at states and possibly win the team title. Hopefully Iíll be able to keep running in college, too.
MoCoRunning: Do you do anything else for fun besides running?
Tousley: No, not really. I like to watch movies, talk to my friends here and back in Alaska, and read once in a while. Besides that, eating and taking naps are my main hobbies. Oh, and I like to pick on Chris Bowie. A lot. Luckily I have lots of help in that pursuit, notably from Dylan Straughan and Alex Prevost, two younger runners to watch for in the future, but really from anyone who knows him. In case Chris finds someone to read this to him, I should say that if you can keep him from yelling outrageous things heís a pretty cool guy.
MoCoRunning: Do you ever have trouble deciding which young lady you are going to take out on Friday nights? What is your strategy for narrowing down the field?
Tousley: Oh man. I guess for every interview there has to be one really impossible question. I donít actually get out much. My idea of a wild party is renting a movie with my family and not doing homework. But in a hypothetical situation, a girl would have to have two qualities. First, she has to be easy to get along with. Second, she must be willing to do my laundry.
Thanks a lot for letting me do this interview and good luck with the site, itís great.
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Meghan Rose Interview
March 8, 2006
Meghan Rose is a junior at Poolesville High School. She plays soccer and lacrosse but we all know what her best sport is: indoor track. Rose is coming off a dream season in which she sprinted her way to one county title, four region titles, three states titles (300m 40:91, 500m 1:18.94, 800m 2:23.65) and one state record (40.91 300m). She talks to mocorunning about the role of track in her life and what its been like for her this season.
MoCoRunning: How long have you been playing sports? What is your favorite sport and why (be honest!)? When did you start doing track?
Rose: My parents had me playing sports in kindergarten. I played t-ball and soccer in kindergarten, and played soccer, basketball and swam through elementary and middle school. I began lacrosse in middle school and when high school began, I decided on soccer, indoor track and lacrosse. My parents wanted me to run track instead of basketball because I was pretty bad at basketball. Lacrosse is my favorite sport. I play club lacrosse through the summer and plan on playing in college.
MoCoRunning: What is your outlook on training? Is track something to hold you over between seasons or do the other sports hold you over until track season?
Rose: I love track and I wish I could run outdoor, but lacrosse is my main sport. For me, soccer is a just a way of staying active and having fun during the fall season. I would run cross country but honestly, anything over 800m scares me.
MoCoRunning: For those of us that only follow track and cross country, are you also accomplished in your other sports? If so, what type of honors have you earned over the years? [Itís ok to brag a little!]
Rose: For lacrosse, I was all county honorable mention my freshman year and second team my sophomore year. I play midfield and have been among the top scorers for the team both seasons. My freshman and sophomore seasons of soccer were full of injuries and I didnít have a breakout year until this past season. I was first team in the Frederick Post and second team for the Gazette. I also was named All-State honorable mention by the Maryland Association of Coaches for Soccer.
MoCoRunning: The 500m race is a very tricky distance. Many young runners who try it find themselves sucking wind in the last 200m. As far as race strategy and training, what advice would you have for other athletes who want to be successful in the 500m in the future?
Rose: Warm-up and stretch! You will be glad you did when you are coming around the last turn and your legs donít tighten up. It has happened to me so many times and it isnít fun at all. The 500 requires a lot of training because it is such a tricky distance. If you keep your muscles fresh and keep your form the whole race, it wonít be a problem.
MoCoRunning: Not everyone realizes this, but you won the 500m state championship last year. At the beginning of the season, certainly you wanted to defend that crown, but did you also set the goals to win the 300m and the 800m or was it not until some point later in the season that you realized it might be possible?
Rose: Last year at states, I lost the 300m in the last 15 meters. It was a very close race and I had my mind set on winning it this year. It was my main focus at states because I had the biggest competition in that race. The 800 was new this year. I thought it was a stretch adding the 500 last year, but the 800 has been working well. After winning the 300 and 500 at states, I was determined to end the day with three individual titles.
MoCoRunning: If you ran track your freshman year, then perhaps you saw Erin Moore from Poolesville win the indoor 500m state championship. Did Erin or any of your other teammates inspire you to dedicate yourself to track?
Rose: Erin lives a few houses down the street from me and she and my older sister, Emily, were best friends growing up. I ran the 4x400 with her freshman year and she has always been a role model to me. Since my freshman year, I have been compared to her and Christina Mann [Poolesville, held the 300m record that Rose broke] which Iím not complaining about because they are amazing athletes and both play division I soccer.
MoCoRunning: Will you be back next indoor season? What will your goals be?
Rose: I will definitely be running next year. My goals are to stay strong and healthy the whole season, and to have another day at states like this year. I want to defend my 300m record [40.91] and get the 500m record [1:18.94 Moore, Poolesville. Rose missed it by 0.64s] at states.
MoCoRunning: Do you have any other hobbies besides athletics?
Rose: Sadly to say, sports take up most my time. Between high school seasons and my club lacrosse, I treasure all the free time I have. While at home, there is nothing better than some good food and a long nap. I hate cold weather. During the summers, I just relax with my friends. We donít go out of town that often, due to Poolesvilleís rural location and the price of gas, so we find our fun by running around in corn fields and swimming in rivers. My family travels a lot and I love going to the beach, laying in the sun, and surfing all day.
MoCoRunning: If you could go anywhere in the world for spring break, where would you go and what would you do?
Rose: My favorite place I have been to is Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica. Itís a little surfing town and was actually in the movie Endless Summer. I would love to visit Spain too. Iím not picky though, Iíll take any beach where I can lay in the sun and surf. Iím doing the opposite this year though. Iím staying with my sister at Penn State for most of the break. Mountains instead of a beach... oh well!
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Matt Petrocci Interview
April 24, 2006
Matt Petrocci is a graduate from Magruder High School and is currently a senior at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA. Matt was a good high school athlete with a 12th place individual finish at the cross country state championship and a 9th place finish in the 800m at the outdoor track state championship (2:00.10 pr), but he was never the center of attention. Now, after four years of running varsity track at St. Joe's, he is running as well as any Montgomery County alumni. He recently won the 800m title at the indoor Atlantic 10 Conference Championship and dropped his personal 800m record to 1:51.08 at the Duke Invitational two weeks ago. He reflects on what it has been like striving to achieve his personal best at a division I school while still studying as a full time student. He shares with us some of his typical college workouts, some of the memorable times, and what may be in store for him in his final few weeks as a collegiate athlete.
MoCoRunning: Looking back on high school, what do you remember most about running track and cross country? What advice do you have for today's high school athletes to make the most out of their high school track and/or cross country experiences?
Petrocci: Well, compared to High School, I remember how low of mileage we did, especially in XC. I was running about 70 mi/wk in XC in college, but probably not more than 45 in high school. I loved track in high school, but I don't think I had the same mind set that I do now. Now, with everything I do, I ask myself, "Will this positively or negatively affect my performance in the meet?" I am a lot more motivated to train - during HS over winter break I wouldn't run nearly enough, same was true for my freshman year at St. Joe's. But the past three years I have been extremely serious in making sure I get just about every workout done when away from school.
Advice for high schoolers: Seriously, anything is possible. I went from running 2:00.10 at the regional meet my senior year, thinking, "Wow, this is really cool that I'm running so fast." I thought that was fast...now I'm running 9 seconds faster and am on the verge of qualifying for NCAA regionals. To make the most of it, just make sure you are doing it because you love track and you love to run, not because you feel like you are forced to. Also, train hard - I didn't train nearly hard enough in high school - both because of coaches and because of myself. I would drop out of workouts regularly. If you are going to invest hours and hours every week for practice, doubles, lifting, meets etc. make it worth your time to train hard and to get the results you want.
MoCoRunning: What was the decision making process like for you when you were selecting a college to attend? How much did athletics play a role in your decision? Were you recruited? What other factors played a role and why did you ultimately select St. Joseph's?
Petrocci: Well, I definitely knew that I wanted to run in college. I knew that I had to select a school where I would be able to walk on to the team because I wasn't being offered any scholarships. When I talked to my coach, he said that they did accept walk-ons and have always had a number of walk-ons that have stepped up to the next level. Other factors: I wanted to be a biology major, because I wanted to (at the time) go to medical school and St. Joseph's had a good Pre Med program.
MoCoRunning: What is your major? How do you balance athletics, classes, and your other activities? Do you get any special privileges from professors because you are a DI athlete? Do you think your grades suffer due to track?
Petrocci: I am a Biology major with a Psychology minor. I don't like being a bio major - it's a lot of work. To balance class and athletics just requires you to plan your time out. What I did my freshman and sophomore years was to practice, go to dinner and then to the library. I would do a little bit of work each night so that I didn't have to cram things in at the last minute. But now that I'm a senior I have gotten much more focused on track and much less focused on school. I find myself waiting until a couple days before things are due to start working on them. Even though I procrastinate, I still get good grades.
Privileges: One of the best privileges was priority registration. Athletes get to register before all other students, so I got every class I ever wanted. I think professors are more lenient with absences with athletes, but as far as grading I do not think I get any special privileges.
I think my grades suffer a little bit due to track, but even if I had the extra 20 - 30 hours or so that I spend doing track stuff, I don't think I would do 20-30 more hours of studying.
MoCoRunning: Describe what it's like running DI track. Is it what you expected?
Petrocci: My first practice in the summer my freshman year at SJU, was a six mile run and I got killed. The next day we did a 10 mile run over hills - I was far enough behind that my coach turned me back early. But my Soph. year I moved down to train with the Long Sprints group - training that I had never experienced. My favorite aspect is the competitiveness of it - we get to go compete against all the big time schools. I think people in DI are a lot more focused and want to have the highest level of competition in order to obtain their goals. Running DI was sort of a shock for me - we meet for practice 5 days/wk., have a meet on Saturday and run on your own on Monday. Also I was not happy about having to stay at school over Fall break, having to come back 2-3 weeks early from Christmas break, and having to stay at school during Easter for meets - that was freshman year. But I like staying now.
DI track is a lot of hard work. If you aren't working as hard as you can, you are wasting your time. There are so many "good" runners in DI that if you don't work hard, you will get killed in practice and in meets by someone working harder than you. So even when coach gives me off occasionally on Sundays, I still run. Then there's lifting sessions, and doing the core workout on my own. So it's not just practice. It's everything else too - and especially making sure to get enough sleep and to eat healthy.
MoCoRunning: Describe a typical workout week for you at this point in the season.
Petrocci: Monday - 1x450 or 1x500 (something long and fast) - at about 49-50 400pace. 3x200 26, 25, 24
Tuesday - 6-8x200 @ 26
Wednesday - 8x300 @ 39 - 41
Thursday - 1x320 fast (48 sec. 400 pace) 3x200 26, 25, 24
Friday - Premeet 3x200 @26, starts, baton handoffs
Saturday - Race
Sunday - Run 30 min
MoCoRunning: What do the core workouts entail?
Petrocci: These workouts are for the core muscle group Ė abs and back. I do them twice a week. It involves different exercises such as holding your body straight while on your elbows, face up and face down, and by holding yourself up with the left arm, then the right arm, the bicycle ab workout. The core workout makes your core muscles strong so that your body is more stable during the race, which allows more power transfer and less wasted energy by flailing around.
MoCoRunning: What has been the high point(s) of your running career at St. Joseph's? Why? Please describe.
Petrocci: The high point was probably when I won the 800m race at A10's Indoor this year. Since sophomore year I had the idea that I would win A10's every year. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The indoor 800m soph. year didn't go so well. I got seventh. At the outdoor 800 soph. year I was in 3rd place, running right behind my teammate Andrew Thomas. A guy in 1st made a move with about 275m to go, so I moved up to 2nd and Andrew moved up with me. But when I got to about 100m to go, my legs completely tightened up and I went from 3rd to about 8th. Meanwhile Andrew won the race and automatically qualified for regionals. I was extremely pissed about that. Junior year indoor, I let the guy who won the race go out ahead of me and I didn't go up to his shoulder - I simply let him run away. I used a great 3rd lap to reel him back in, but then with 75m to go, my legs tightened up again and I faded from 2nd to 4th. I didn't even get a medal. And then Jr. year outdoor - I made some bad tactical mistakes by tucking in from the wind in about 5th rather than going up to the leaders shoulder - I thought I would be able to kick with 100m to go, but everyone else did the sameÖso I got 5th. I definitely should have won indoor junior year. I could have won outdoor. Going into A10's senior year I had the fastest time in the conference by 3 seconds and I knew that this was the year. From the gun I went right to the shoulder of the guy in first place and ran off him for 300m. At 300m I took the lead and was never challenged again - I beat the 2nd place guy by 2.5 seconds and ran the 3rd fastest 800 in conference championship history missing 2nd by 0.01s and 1st by 0.16s while running by myself. So it was a culmination I guess of a lot of bad races at the conference meet in previous years and the fact that I knew that I was going to win.
Another high point was running last year at NCAA regionals. We had qualified in the 4x400 by winning the conference meet. After a 3 hour rain delay and a 3 hour warm up (I usually warm up about 1:15) we were able to run under the lights at Randall's Island, NY. Our 1st leg gave us a big lead (46.5 split) only to have it squandered in the 1st 100m of the 2nd leg when he went from 1st to 5th (50.6 split), I was running the third leg, so I got the baton in 4th place, I ran by 2 teams down the back stretch, passed the third coming out of the last turn, then I flew up the strait away to hand off to our anchor who ran about 47.6 for a total of 3:11.50. As I handed off to our anchor the announcer called out, "47.3 on the runner from St. Joes", I heard it and could not believe it. That was my fastest split by about 1 second and I dropped that in 2 week. Unfortunately we had that 50.6 split or we could have taken a shot at the school record of 3:09.07.
MoCoRunning: What was it like placing 10th in the 800m with a 1:51.08 at the recent Duke Invitational?
Petrocci: I knew I was ready to run something really fast because of the way in which my workouts had been going. I had a great 700m of the race, but I couldn't go as my legs tightened up in the last 100. Had my legs not tightened up I would have made the regional qualifier and maybe gone sub 1:50. I was really happy with the time because it was a 1.68 second pr, but I was also upset because I knew I could have run faster.
MoCoRunning: Many athletes have trouble staying focused and finding success in college. You on the other hand have now dropped 9 seconds off of your high school 800m personal record. In fact you have improved a great deal in each of the past three track season:
Indoor Soph: 800 - 1:57.00, 4x4 - 51.5
Outdoor Soph: 800 - 1:54.89, 400 - 50.2
Indoor Junior: 800 - 1:54.81 (1:52.6 on 4x8 anchor), 4x4 - 49.3
Outdoor Junior: 800 - 1:52.89, 4x4 - 47.3
Indoor Senior: 800 - 1:52.71, 4x4 - 49.1
Outdoor Senior (so far) - 1:51.08, 4x4 - 48.1
To whom or what do you contribute your success in college? How have you been able to stay interested and improve so much every year?
Petrocci: I would contribute my success to myself and to my coach. I became more focused and determined to run well and my coach has always supported me and helped me with workouts or other things. I have made it easy for myself to stay interested because of my improvements each year. As far as the improvements each year, I think it was just becoming more physically mature (5'9", 120 as a senior in HS and 5'11" 150 now) as well as knowing the workouts better, knowing how to race better, actually doing good training in the summer, and self discipline - lifting and core workouts even when its only me doing them. It's the desire to reach a goal and to have my times improve and the desire to win races.
MoCoRunning: What are you goals for the remainder of your collegiate track career?
Petrocci: Win A10's 800m, Qualify for NCAA Regionals, Run Sub 1:49, Top 3 at IC4A, Qualify for NCAA regional 800m final, Split 46-something in the 4x400, qualify for regional in the 4x400. Win our heat of the DMR, 4x400 and 4x800 at Penn Relays.
MoCoRunning: What is the best trip that you've been on with your team and why?
Petrocci: The best trip is usually the trip to Duke every April. We get to leave school on Thursday morning and miss Friday and Thursday classes. Then usually I don't race until Saturday, so after our pre meet at the track, we get to walk around Duke's campus and watch races and hang out. Also, it's a smaller group of guys so it's more comfortable on the bus. Bus rides are always fun in general regardless of the trip. It's great just talking and watching movies and relaxing on the bus.
MoCoRunning: What is the worst trip you've been on with your team?
Petrocci: The worst trip we had was actually 2 weeks ago going down to UVA. The bus was supposed to show up at 10 am, but it didn't show up until 12. Then around Washington DC, the bus broke down and we were sitting on a hot, broken down bus on the side of the highway for 3 hours until a new bus came. We were all starving and didn't eat until about 8:30 that night. We were originally doing our pre-meet at UVAs track, but we got to the hotel at 11, so we did our pre-meet in the parking lot. We ate at one of the worst Golden Corals ever. There were about 4 choices on what to eat - normally I wouldn't go there but that's all there was.
Stuff like this only affects the races of those people who let it affect them. Then the next day I was running great in the 800 until 200 to go when I got tripped, did the windmill arms just to stay up, was out in lane 3 because of that, but then I recovered and finished strong, but my time had suffered because of the trip (1:52.05). So that sucked. And then on the bus ride back to school - the DVD player didn't work, so we had 5 hours to kill, but we had fun just talking.
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Audrey Gariepy Interview
May 17, 2006
Audrey Gariepy is a versatile athlete from Churchill High School. She sprints, she hurdles, and she jumps. During the indoor season, she led her team to a county title by winning four individual events: the long jump, high jump, triple jump, and 55 meter hurdles. She also won the indoor high jump state title and advanced to the 60 meter hurdle semifinals at the Nike Indoor National track meet. She was named All-Met by the Washington Post and named athlete of the indoor season by the Montgomery Gazette. This season, she has played a key role in helping her team win four invitationals. She is coming off of the county championship meet where she competed sick and still won the triple jump and long jump crowns. She explains how she has gone from a competitor to a champion and what to watch for in the future.
MoCoRunning: Congratulations for being named a Washington Post All-Met athlete for the
indoor track season! What was that like for you when you found out that you
were named to the first team?
Gariepy: When the coaches told me, I was really surprised and had no idea what to
say. I knew that they had been talking about it being a possibility, but I
didnít think it would happen. It was definitely a great feeling of
MoCoRunning: What have been your other proudest accomplishments in your track career so
Gariepy: One of my proudest accomplishments was winning the high jump at the state
meet. I went out there planning do my best, and thankfully, my efforts paid
off. Also, winning the four individual events at counties was exciting.
MoCoRunning: Last year, you were in the shadow of some other outstanding county athletes
and not many people anticipated you rising to an elite level. Did you know
that this was going to be your break out year? What did you do in the
off-season to prepare for the indoor season?
Gariepy: Last year was my first year doing track competitively, and so I learned the
basic techniques and form for the hurdles and jumps. After seeing some of
my times improve, and competing against such great athletes, I decided to
work harder to do better this year. During the summer I stayed active and
went to a camp, and in the fall I played volleyball, which kept me in shape.
I really didnít know this was going to be my breakout year, but thatís
what I hoped for.
MoCoRunning: Although your times and marks have always been good and have improved this
year, many other county athletes have improved greatly as well. What is the
difference between putting up good marks and winning events?
Gariepy: You can get good marks throughout an entire season, but to win an event,
you have to concentrate and bring all you have to every meet. You need to
really want to win, focus, and train hard.
MoCoRunning: What is you favorite event to compete in?
Gariepy: Wow, thatís really hard to say. I love all the events and it's great to be
able to do different ones from time to time, but the hurdles have to be my
top choice. Iíve been working on them the longest, and theyíre just fun to
MoCoRunning: How do you manage to practice for sprints, hurdles and jump on a daily basis
in reasonable time frame? Do you work on each event a little bit every day
or do you alternate jumps, hurdles, and sprints on different days?
Gariepy: The workouts are always different. I usually work on a specific event each
day, but as meet days get closer, we tend to change it up. By then, I end
up focusing on the jumps, hurdles, and doing drills on a daily basis.
MoCoRunning: Being such a versatile athlete, how do you decide which events to compete
in? Do your coaches tell you what to do or is it a mutual agreement?
Gariepy: The coaches decide what I do at most meets, but at the dual meets they
often ask my opinion or let me choose which jumps to compete in.
MoCoRunning: Between hurdle and sprint trials and finals, and the jumping events,
describe what it is like managing your time at a meet. Have you ever had to
make a decision to skip an event during a meet?
Gariepy: I spend my time all over the place during meets. Youíll probably see me running across the infield the entire time. Itís hard to focus on a specific race or jump while thinking about the high jump bar going up, or
getting to the line in time, but thatís what Iíve got to do. I usually try
to warm up early, just so I have enough time to get my steps for the jumps,
and do my hurdle drills. Iíve only chosen to skip an event once; that was
at indoor regionals. There was only one other athlete besides me left
competing and neither of us cleared 5í4 so we had a jump off. Since I had
to go run the hurdles final, I conceded and got to the line just in time to
MoCoRunning: Have you ever accidentally missed an event??
Gariepy: Iíve never missed an event, but I sometimes cut it close by checking in at
the last call just so I can get one more jump in.
MoCoRunning: You won the two events that you competed in at counties, but you dropped out of the other two. What happened that prevented you from running hurdles and doing high jump? How did the triple jump and the long jump go for you?
Gariepy: I got sick at school, but I stayed in class to see if I would be able to compete. At the end of the day I went home and told everyone I wasn't coming. By the time I started feeling better and actually got to the meet, the hurdle prelims were over ant the high jump had already begun. So the only two events I could do were the long and triple. I ended up getting a pr in the triple with 37ft 9' and winning both events.
MoCoRunning: You have been consistent with your triple jumping this season, always ranging from 35-36 feet. What put you over 37 and almost to 38 and catapulted you into the state lead?
Gariepy: That week, I had specifically been working on the different phases and on finding the right speed down the runway. That helped a lot, and at the meet my coach told me to get my knees up, slow down and get some height. Once I did that, I automatically got the 37ft.
MoCoRunning: Even though you missed some of the events at counties, do you feel like you have good momentum going into the two post season meets?
Gariepy: Definately. Although I wish I had been able to do the other two events, I still think I'm capable of doing well at the region and state meets. There are still a few small things to fix, but I'm confident and ready to go out and do my best.
MoCoRunning: Which events do you expect to focus on at the regional and the state meet? Is there any one or two events in particular that you would especially like a state title in this season?
Gariepy: At both these meets, I'll focus on the hurdles and the three jumps. I'd really like a state title in the hurdles, just because I've been working hard on them for so long and I love the event. I would also like to keep high jump state title and get above 5'4.
MoCoRunning: If it happens to be a sunny day you could possibly rain on a lot of people's parade at states and walk away with four individual victories. Has this thought crossed your mind?
Gariepy: I've heard a few people mention it, but honestly the thought hadn't crossed my mind until last week. Now I want it even more, and although there will be tough competition, I think I can definitely perform well.
MoCoRunning: What was it like competing at Nike Indoor Nationals in the 60m hurdles and making it to the semi finals? Do you hope to compete at any other large post season meet such as Nike Outdoor Nationals? If so is there a chance you may do the heptathlon instead of 1 or 2 individual events?
Gariepy: Competing at Nationals and making it to semis was amazing. It gave me a chance to go to a bigger meet and see the intense level of competition from all over the country. After states, I hope to keep competing, and go to Outdoor Nationals as well as some other meets around the region. The heptathlon is always a possibility, and many people have been trying to convince me to do it. The only thing is that longer distances scare me and the 800 or 1500 meter race is a little much.
MoCoRunning: What are your plans for the summer and fall in terms of training and staying in shape? Do you have any particular goals for your senior year in track?
Gariepy: During the summer, I plan on joining a summer track team, although I'm not sure which one. That way I can run in some meets to stay in shape and maybe try some new events. As far as fall goes, I play volleyball, so that will keep me active and I'll do some workouts on my own. For senior year, I want to improve my times and distances. Specifically I'd like to qualify for Nike Nationals in more events and place high. I also want to get all-met and defend my titles.
MoCoRunning: What are your summer plans? Do you have any exotic vacations planned or will you be working all summer in some burger joint?
Gariepy: This summer's going to be great. I'm getting a job, going to Canada and visiting some family. I'm probably going back to Senegal, which means the beach, hot weather, and a chance to relax and see my friends.
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