Jack Wavering of Good Counsel High School is fresh off his 11th place performance at the Penn Relays 3k
where he ran a time of 8:29.73 (similar to a 9:07 3200m). He has been absolutely on fire since cross country season when he won his second consecutive
WCAC title and ran a 15:22.3 5k at NXN Southeast. Indoors, he ran a 4:23.33 1600m at Virginia Tech and a 9:13.52 two mile at New Balance Indoor Nationals.
In this interview, the future Virginia Tech Hokie describes some of his best races, favorite places to run, and hardest workouts.
MoCoRunning: Let's start with your most recent race - Penn Relays. Your 8:29 3K was one of the best ever
recorded by a Montgomery County athlete. What was your race strategy heading into the meet, and did you feel you met your goal for the race?
Wavering: Going into the race I had a goal of running under 8:30 so I knew that most of my laps would have to
be right around 68 seconds as a ballpark. In terms of actual strategy though, I know that hard consistent efforts seem to work best for me so I was really
just trying to hang close to the leaders, knowing that if I could do that for at least 6 laps, a good time would happen all by itself. After going through
the first lap in about 63 seconds I knew that all I would have to do is hang on.
MoCoRunning: Your times have been consistently dropping across the board this season (800-3200). Which event do
you think is your best?
Wavering: I think that the 3k/3200/2 mile is my best event but I'm excited that my other times have been
dropping as well. If I had not run a 3k or 3200 I would anticipate, based off of my 800 and 1600 times, that I could run somewhere in the 9:20-25 range,
significantly slower than my current pr's at similar distances. Similarly I would anticipate, based off of my 8:29 3k, that I could run somewhere around
1:55-56 for the 800 or 4:16-17 for the 1600, much faster than my actual pr's at similar distances.
MoCoRunning: I've heard that your cross country coach, Coach Tom Arnold, came out of "track retirement" to
coach track for the first time in a long time this season? Do you feel that you have benefitted from having the same coach for a full year?
Wavering: For this outdoor season only, he has agreed to be our distance track coach. The work he has done
with our team this year has really been fun for me to watch and participate in. I think it is really beneficial to have one coach but having one coach
results in a better understanding of what works well for an athlete as far as training goes. Having one coach leads to a better ability to develop a
long-term plan across multiple seasons to help the athlete peak exactly when they need to. Additionally, when you have a new coach, you have to start from
ground zero with different training styles, workouts, and schedules. We know roughly what our workout schedule will be for the season and that helps us to
be efficient in planning our schedules.
MoCoRunning: Both you and Rohann Asfaw threw down a race for the ages at the NXN Southeast Regionals in
November and New Balance Indoor Nationals in March and coincidentally finished nearly side-by-side in each. Is there a rivalry between Jack Wavering and
Wavering: If there is one, it is the friendliest rivalry ever. I wouldn't say there's any more of a rivalry
between Rohann and myself than there is between myself and anyone else. We're competitive but that's why we run track, to be competitive.
MoCoRunning: Was qualifying for an individual spot at NXN your goal coming into the meet? After the race, which
did you feel more - excited about the performance, or disappointed at barely missing a qualifying spot for NXN?
Wavering: At NXN all of our team meetings were about our team goals and what each individual would have to
accomplish in order for us to place second. My job was to place as high as possible and maybe place high enough as an individual to go to nationals and
run somewhere around 15:20. I accomplished those goals and I was happy with that. Sometimes you run a race and other runners are just faster than you are
on a given day. That's how racing goes. I think the thing I thought most about after the race was the ten points that separated us from second place and a
team bid to nationals which was our goal from day one of this cross country season.
MoCoRunning: Describe the progression of the NXN Southeast race. Throughout the race, did you have an idea how
close you were to the top five?
Wavering: I got out fast and hard, splitting 4:42 for the first mile. After that I just tried to move up as
many places as possible. During this time I was not paying any attention to where I was or how many people I had passed. I only realized how close I was
at the bottom of the finishing straight when Coach Arnold told me I was in sixth place.
MoCoRunning: The 3200 at the Montgomery Invitational featured the top five distance runners in the state of
Maryland. Were you satisfied with a third place finish?
Wavering: I was happy with my performance. Even though I placed third, I ran almost a 10 second pr fairly early
in the indoor season after switching from Coach Arnold to Coach Massino for our indoor season.
MoCoRunning: What are your goals for the end of this season? Are you planning on attending any big post-season
races (ex. New Balance Outdoor Nationals)?
Wavering: At this point it looks like my last races will be at the WCAC Conference Championships later this
month. I don't intend to run any post season track races.
MoCoRunning: Throughout high school, did you have
a teammate who you looked up to as a role model that influenced your running career?
Wavering: When I started running cross country early one June morning as a wide-eyed freshman I was accompanied
by a crowd of shirtless giants, all of whom I looked up to. The guys I looked up to most were the old-timers, the guys who had graduated who came back to
run and train, helping their younger brothers get through the summer. Among their ranks were (and still sometimes are) Nathan Brockett, Allen Meringolo,
Jack Riely, Jimmy Kazunas, and Michael Fitzgerald. Then there were the guys who were a part of the team, our co-captains that year Drew Smith and Collin
Crilly. Those seven were the guys I strove to emulate and whose team success I wanted to experience.
MoCoRunning: What is your favorite place to run?
Wavering: That's a really tough question because there are a lot of places I like to run. I really enjoy
running up and down the C&O Canal Towpath and on the Seneca Creek trail system. In the past few months I have found a loop that I really like to do early
in the morning from St. Mary's Church in Barnesville out to Sugarloaf Mountain. Once there I either run up the mountain to the East View parking lot where
I pause for a few minutes to watch the sunrise or I run around the bottom and then back along Mt. Ephraim and West Harris road back to the St. Mary's
MoCoRunning: Do you listen to music before/during runs? If so, what is your go-to pre-race song(s)?
Wavering: I don't listen to music before or during workouts or before races because I like "running free", with
just myself and my teammates. Besides, we have plenty of time to listen to songs at other times. Practices and races let me get away from that a little
bit. I like the isolation running provides from school and all of the other things I do on a daily basis- like listening to music. If I had to pick a
pre-race song however, it would have to either be "The Only Way I Know" by Jason Aldean.
MoCoRunning: What's the hardest workout you've ever done?
Wavering: There are two runs I would classify as the hardest I have ever done; the long runs at Concord Retreat
Running Camp which I am sure many county runners are familiar with. They are simply so drastically different from anything else I do during the year and
so much more physically and mentally taxing than everything else that they rank above everything else I have done as a workout.