MileSplit Journal: Drew Magaha, Upper Moreland - Entry #8 April 24th (1:48.82)

Milesplit.US Cross Country Journals: Drew Magaha, Upper Moreland PA (SR)

 

Drew Magaha is just figuring out this cross country thing. His first goal this year was to break 16. Did it in the first meet. One thing is for sure, when Drew puts his mind to something, he has the tools to make it happen, with both talent and a laser focus. When he was learning more about middle distance races last indoor and ourdoor, some may remember him trailing the race for the first few laps, and then putting on an astonishing push to finish either first, second or in the top group. Well, by the end of outdoor, he figured out that mile thing. All he did in three weeks was take out three incredible 1600m records. In the Suburban One League - American Conference, he bested Hatboro Horsham legend Russ Coleman's 1995 mark by over two seconds, going 4:13.50. At the District One meet, he took down another Hatboro legend, Dan McKay's 1996 mark by over two seconds - going 4:10.99. And a week later, he added the AAA state meet record, besting Manheim Township legend Craig Miller's time by - you guessed it - over two seconds... going 4:07.32. Enjoy watching this talent for his final prep year...

 

 

Entry #1 9/19  |  Entry #2 9/30  |  Entry #3 10/23  |  Entry #4 11/4  |  Entry #5 11/17  |  Entry #6 (Recruitment Journal)  |  Entry #7: Mononucleosis  |  Entry #8 (STATE RECORD 800) | Entry #9 |

 

Drew Magaha

(Sr., Upper Moreland HS, PA)

 

 

 

Journal Entry #8 (April 24, 2012): 1:48.82 PA STATE ALL-TIME BEST 800m

800M State Record

    The 800M has always been a special race for me.  It is the perfect combination of speed meeting distance, and requires a great amount of strength.  My first race in 7th Grade was an 800M against our rival school, Hatboro Horsham, in which I won with a time in the high 2:30’s.  I then went on to win every 800M my 7th grade year except for the league championship where I placed third.  At first, I was discouraged and did not want to run anymore 8’s, but after seeing that my time broke the middle school record I decided to stick with it.  I went undefeated my 8th grade year, and again bettered the middle school record.

 

Photo by Charles Stone

    When I got to high school, Coach Heins, who had been watching me for 2 years, thought that I would be better as a miler.  So we began training for longer races, but I always enjoyed the speed workout I got from the occasional 800M.  At that time the state was dominated by none other than Tom Mallon.  I, along with every other mid-distance runner in the state, wanted to be Tom Mallon.  I always read about his exploits in the paper and thought he was the epitome of running. When I reached my sophomore year, Tom was still going strong in the 800M, but I had become a full-fledged miler. Tom was still a source of inspiration for me despite the race difference.  I remember when I was sick at the state championships in 2010, he gave me a few words of advice.  I am man enough to admit that I was like a groupie and to get a pep talk by Tom Mallon was the best thing in the world!  When he graduated and went to college out west, I think the state of PA lost a great athlete.

    Junior year without Tom was interesting.  My focus was still on the mile, but I began to run more 800’s again, and many against my rival and good friend Hong Cho.  The competition was fierce throughout the season but I never really got the chance to let loose and run fresh due to my mile focus.  I only ran one second faster than my sophomore best of 1:53.  After an off-track foot injury during the previous weekend, I opted out of racing the 800M at the SOL American Conference championships, and Hong set the conference record.  Hong did a fantastic job and went on to win districts and states in the 800M.  I went on to win the 1600M and set the State AAA record, but I still felt a little bit of a void.

    After the success of my junior year, coming into my senior year my focus became running a sub 4 mile.  And to get there I would run more 800’s, work on more speed, and see what happens.  I had a very good XC season, and came out strong in indoor running a 1:51.? split before getting sick.  But I wasn’t sure that my mile success would translate to the 800M.  After 4 or 5 weeks of down-time coming into spring, I was nowhere near the fitness level that I needed for the mile.  I was able to fight the wind at the (Council Rock) Kiwanas Invite enough run a 4:00 in the 1500M to qualify for the Penn Relays HS Mile.  But needing more speed work, I jumped at the opportunity to run a few more 800’s.

    At Coatesville last Saturday (April 14th), the field in the 800M was deep.  The race started well and I lead from the gun, which is something I almost never do.  I felt relatively good that day, so I decided to just relax as to not risk any unnecessary injuries.  I put in a surge with 200M to go but coasted the last 50M.  When I read the time at the finish I was very surprised.  I had run a PR of 1:51 with limited effort!  That was a huge confidence booster!!

   Photo by Patty Morgan    


    A week later at the Abington Invite this past Friday, I decided to try my luck in the 800M one last time before Penn.  When I saw that Haneef Hardy and Brad Rivera were running, I thought that if there was ever a chance to get close to 1:50, this was it.  My previous dual meet left me with a few minor strains, but with this competition, and the stands full of family and friends, I was determined give it my all, and push for 1:50.  I had been waiting for an opportunity like this for almost 4 years.  Getting up to the line I felt a lot of nervous energy, which is useful for fast starts, but oddly enough when the gun went off I was left at the line.  After making up lost ground quickly I lead for the first 200M, almost getting passed with 600M to go. I thought to myself that this was my time to shine, so I pushed and never looked back.  My 400M spit was somewhere around 52, and upon hearing that, the adrenaline kicked in.  I tried my hardest to accelerate through the 600 and when I reached the home stretch I saw that the crowd was rushing to see the finish.  Again I tried to push harder and it seemed to work until about ten yards from the finish.  I glanced down and saw a peculiar two shadows instead of one.  On top of that, my mind could have been playing tricks on me, but I could have sworn I saw one moving faster than the other!  I thought to myself that I came way too far to get caught now.  I put in one last push to go faster and in doing so I leaned off balance and flipped over the line. The rest was just a blur.  My coach was first to help me up, but before he did he stuck the timer on the ground where my face lay. The clock read 1:48.82!  Oddly enough Coach Smith managed to get the exact FAT time on his stop watch.  I had achieved the unthinkable.

    I always viewed Tom Mallon and Paul Vandergrift as untouchable, but remarkably my prayers and dedicated work had paid off.  I have been slowly getting back into hard training since March, and I am amazed that I was able to pull off such a feat.  I have the utmost respect for both Tom and Mr. Vandergrift, and I am honored to be mentioned with them.  Following, and chasing, their achievements have helped me become the runner I am today.  My thanks also to Haneef and Brad, without them that race would not have been nearly as special.

    My focus turns now to the Penn Relays where I will use this confidence booster to take on the mile once more!


 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #7 (April 6, 2012): Mononucleosis

 

 

Winter Track has always been my favorite season. It occurs during my favorite time of year and is a relaxed environment in which I can get some quality training in before the hectic schedule of spring.  This year was looking as promising as the last two.  Everything was going great until the unthinkable happened.  On January 26th I was diagnosed with mononucleosis.


All the signs were there…  In just under two weeks, I went from splitting a PR 1:51.0 800M on a flat track to being unable to finish a mile.  In addition, I was incredibly tired all the time and I could not keep any food in my system for more than a few hours.  And finally, to make matters worse, the antibiotic that the doctor gave me to fight off what was thought to be a sinus infection reacted with the virus and produced a head to toe rash.  I was not in good shape by any means.  To further complicate things, while all of this was beginning, I had invitations to run at the Brooks Invitational in Portland, The US Open in NY, and the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston.  All of which I had to decline.  But I think the worse part of the experience was the mental toll it took.  In the days after I was first diagnosed, I had absolutely no motivation to do anything, even getting out of bed was a hassle.  Just thinking about what I had lost on the track made me wonder just how bad things could get.  It’s been a long and difficult couple of months.

 

Fortunately, I received support from every angle despite my extreme, and at times humorous, bad attitude.  Coach Martin was a huge help in keeping me motivated with dreams of Penn kept fresh in my mind almost weekly.  And I owe the most to my family and friends, who braved my teenaged anger to help me when I was down.  One friend in particular was a real life saver. I cannot begin to describe how much this girl helped me.  She showed me the way back and taught me many life lessons.  She is quite frankly, my hero.

 

At this point, I can say I’m actually thankful for this experience because it has taught me a plethora of lessons that I think most kids take for granted.  Humility and humanity, for example.  You never really know what you have until you think it’s gone; and most people these days have a clouded view of what, or who, they truly are.  Myself included; until mono.  You always pump yourself up and think that you can beat any challenge, despite the odds.  And take it from me; the hardest thing to do was accept that and  learn to relax.  In order to recover from the virus, the only thing you can do is absolutely nothing.  There is no treatment.  And for a guy who is always on the move, it was definitely an adjustment.  It really showed me that you can’t always take on the world and live to tell about it.  Sometimes the world kicks back, and you have to listen.  I have learned that taking it easy is sometimes necessary.  Slowing down was not all bad however, and when you take a step back from the hustle and bustle of life, and take a second to look around, you can really see that just being a kid is a blessing.  And for that I am grateful.

 

All in all, this experience has given me a new perspective on life; one that will surely prove useful in the coming seasons.  It has helped motivate me to reach my goals, but it has also given me the humility to take life in stride.  It has made me appreciate what has been given to me just as much as what I have earned.  And it has brought me closer to my family and friends.  It has taught me how to live and love, as corny as it sounds, and it has made me a better person.  I now truly believe that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

 

This spring will definitely be interesting, to say the least.  I have a lot of different ideas floating around in my head as to what I want to do with my final high school season, but the beauty of it is that I feel no pressure.  I have a lot of work to do, and I’m not sure there is time.  I would love to repeat my championships and set new records, but I would also like to try something new.  I now see life day by day instead of meet by meet.  And the best part is that I have slowed down enough to enjoy my last few moments in a purple and gold uniform.  I have a few goals, regardless of this setback, but I will not risk my future as I work my way back to top from.  My biggest goal is to have the time of my life.

 

In conclusion, mono is not fun!  But to those of us who take things for granted, it certainly gives you a new perspective.  My advice to anyone who finds themselves going through this is to realize that you aren’t alone and you don’t have to fight the world.  Just slow down and accept what others offer you.  And most of all, do your best to stay optimistic.  It’s a difficult road, but you might just see some of the things you were missing.   Always look at the bright side because that is where all runners do their best.

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #6 (January 5, 2012): Recruitment Journal

 

Recruitment journal

When I first started running in 7th grade, I never thought that I would be able to compete at the collegiate level. But as I developed it became a goal for me. If you had asked me freshman year, I would have told you that I wanted to run at a nice school to keep in shape, no scholarships needed. But as my career progressed, it became apparent that I would be lucky enough to have some recruitment options. As I began the recruitment process, I was determined to keep my focus on the education. It has never been about money for me. I would rather be happy at a school I paid for than be unhappy for free.

I went into recruitment with an open mind thinking that a match would show eventually. I received oodles of letters from coaches and schools from all over the country during my junior year, but I didn’t want to jump into that process until after the school year was over. I participated in a couple of Junior Day Program visits in the spring, but I didn’t really respond to anyone until July after I ran at the USATF Junior Nationals at University of Oregon. It was after that trip that I realized I wanted to stay closer to home. Oregon was a cool trip and I have a deep respect for their history and team, but I just didn’t think it was an environment I would like.

Over the summer I talked to dozens of coaches as the calls were a daily occurrence. I was happy to talk to all of them, and eventually was able to narrow my choices. Many coaches also took the time to come out and visit with me and my parents. I can’t thank those coaches enough for their interest, and for driving all the way from their schools to visit with me. I feel bad that after all of their trouble, I ultimately had to choose just one. I narrowed my choices to 5 schools at the start of cross country in August. The list consisted of Lehigh, Penn State, Columbia, Georgetown, and University of Pennsylvania. All incredibly good schools but one school stood out from the others. I decided to take official visits to UPenn and Penn State.

Penn State was a great visit. They put on an incredible show for us, but the real draw was the team. The team consisted of guys that I had been running with throughout my running career. A team full of PA State Champions. I stayed with Wade Endress and it was nice to catch up with old friends like Connor Manley from CB West and Chris Campbell from CR North. I have a great deal of respect for the team and coaches. Coach Gondack was relentless in his pursuit. I think I talked to him a couple of times a week for months. And when my parents and I met Coach Sullivan for the first time, it was like we were talking to an old neighbor. That visit made my decision much more difficult.

During my visit to UPenn, I stayed with another old friend, John Trueman of Springfield. The visit was also incredible. The team was great and I was able to spend a lot of time with the coaches. Just more reinforcement of what I already knew. But my affinity for UPenn had started years prior, in second grade when I took a field trip to the UPenn Archeological Museum. And as I stated earlier, this has always been about education. As an avid history buff, I thought the university was an awesome place and obviously a top school, but never thought I would be able to attend. UPenn was the school that had it all, but I never thought it was an option. That was until I received a recruitment letter and invitation to their Junior Day program right before the Penn Relays. During that visit I met Coach Powell, Coach Bolden, and Coach Martin with whom I talked for hours. The connection was immediate. And not just for me, but for my parents as well. We all felt a real connection with all 3 coaches. After that visit, and a dinner visit at home, I truly realized that Penn was the one. Over the next couple of months I talked on the phone with Coach Martin as much as NCAA rules would allow, and we made a few more visits to the campus. I told myself that despite the fact that it was a long shot, I was going to do everything I could to get what I wanted. Coach Martin was very supportive as I prepared to take ACT’s and complete my Early Decision application. On December 9th, I received my acceptance notification. I owe it all to Coach Martin and I cannot thank him enough for everything that he has done for me throughout the entire process.

My thanks to all of the coaches who I have talked to through this whole process! Thanks to Coaches Henner and Banks at Georgetown, Coach Etters from Lehigh, Coaches Wood and Blount from Columbia, Coaches Torpey and Ireland at Lasalle, to name a few. My thanks, respect, and best wishes go out to Coaches Gondak and Sullivan, and my friends at Penn State!

It is with great pleasure that I will be attending, and running for, the University of Pennsylvania next year!

 

 

 

Journal Entry #5 (November 17, 2011)
 


Hi All

    Congrats to everyone who qualified and ran at states!  It was a great day to run with lots of sunshine and, as always, some fierce competition.  The AA & AAA girls’ and AA boy’s races were very exciting.  The boys AAA race was all that I could have expected.  We were very fast off of the start, as usual.  As we reached the hills, the pace never lost steam, and I dropped a few too many places. When we approached the last mile, I began to kick, picking up a few places but just didn’t leave myself enough time to get back to the front. I finished in a somewhat respectable, but disappointing, sixth place. Unfortunately, I had been a little under the weather since the day after districts, which put a bit of a damper on my race; however, I am still content with the finish. After struggling with the Hershey course my 2 prior visits, I had a season aspiration to earn a state medal. And placing 6th met that goal. 

Of course, I am a little disappointed that my health and race plan let me down, but given the circumstances I am willing to move on and begin work on my next season.  I had a terrific XC season, but Track is my main focus this year and I think that it has been smart to take a step back and assess my current situation. And in doing so, I realize that more racing may not be conducive to accomplishing my goals for next season. So I will not be participating in the Nike Regionals & Nationals later this month, like I had previously hoped, but I will instead take a few weeks off to rest and get a fresher start on the Indoor season.

    I am extremely grateful to Mr. Rich, and everyone at penntrackxc.com, for giving me the opportunity to write these journals during my senior cross country season, and I am happy that they have asked me to continue posting through the rest of my senior year. 

So, in the next couple of weeks I’ll be writing about my recruitment activities and college selection, my goals for Indoor Track, and then on through the rest of the year.

Until then, good luck to those running at regionals & nationals, congratulations to everyone on a successful XC season, and I’ll see you indoors!

-Drew

 

 

 

Journal Entry #4 (November 4, 2011)



Hello Everyone

I hope everyone’s district races went well. It’s been another great week for cross country in District One!

The PIAA District One Championships were run last Friday at Lehigh University. The field was extremely deep, with some of the best runners in PA toeing the line in the boys AAA race. We went out extremely fast, with the Hatter duo of Sam Hibbs and Connor Quinn leading the way across the mile marker at 4:45.  From then on, the leaders began to pull away a bit, leaving the second pack (with me in it) to battle for third place.  

As we crossed the two mile mark, we began to speed up again, slowly reeling the leaders back in. Then with about 1000 meters left, I felt pretty good so I kicked hard and won my first District One Cross Country Championship. I was very happy with the time of 15:16.  I owe a lot to the Hatters however, without them taking control and going out so fast, I don’t think the race would have played out the same way.  

I also owe a huge thank you to my coach, John Heins, who has coached me through most of my four years in HS, and countless races.  Next year, though, he won’t be returning to Lehigh as Upper Moreland’s coach, as he is retiring from coaching. It’s a hard loss for any program to have a coach retire, especially when the coach has been around for 39 years and has seen countless athletes through successful seasons, including my father.  He will surely be missed and my thanks goes out to him!  But it won’t surprise me to see him at any of the races next year as a spectator.  I just don’t think he’ll be able to walk away completely.  

His last race as a coach will be the PIAA State XC Championships this Saturday at Hershey. This looks to be yet another amazing race. With one of the most diverse fields in PA history, it has the opportunity to be the best race of the season. My aspirations for states are to have a great ending to the season. All I look for in a race is to finish knowing that I have given it my all, and states are no different.

I look forward to seeing many of you there, and good luck!

-Drew

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #3 (October 23, 2011)


Hey Guys


I hope everything is going well for everyone as the season winds down to your championship races. It’s a pretty weird feeling having almost completed my senior XC season. The season has gone by so fast and has been extremely rewarding, however, it almost feels like the calm before the storm. The season is going to end with a lot of tough competition. Over the past few weeks, I have been incredibly busy with school work, a couple of college visits, and a handful of successful races. And I have enjoyed every minute of it!

    I competed in the Salesianum Invitational on the 1st of October, which turned out to be a great race!  Again, I took the line with some of the best kids in the region to tackle the hills of Brandywine State Park in Delaware. The race started smoothly with the lead pack quickly separating ourselves from the rest of the field.  I lead the first ¾ of a mile or so, then the Hatboro Horsham duo of Sam Hibbs and Connor Quinn took over.  After the main hill, it was apparent that the rest of the race was going to be contested between the three of us. With the Hatters leading into the last half mile, I began to pick up ground, taking the lead as we approached the final hill with a little less than 500 meters to go. I felt great at that moment and began to open up a big lead.  I crossed the line at 16:22, setting a record for the new 2 year old course, and putting my name in the books as the 5th fastest time in meet history. This race was a huge confidence booster for me.  Knowing that I had set a record on a particularly difficult course helped mentally prepare me to get the job done when it comes to the championship races at the end of the season.

In the next 2 weeks, I finished up my dual meet season with an undefeated record.  Another one of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the season. I also set a new record on my home course of 15:56.

On Saturday, October 15th, I competed in the 54th Annual William Tennent Invitational.  This was another great race for my team, as well as me. I placed first with a respectable time of 15:35, setting a new course record and a ten second PR.  I took a different race strategy into this one, in an attempt to widen my normal methods.  Leading from the gun, I crossed the mile marker in 5:06 which is pretty slow compared to the usual sub 5 minute miles that we usually start with. This slower mile set the pace for the rest of the race. With consistency being my main goal, I was extremely happy that I kept the pace and finished with a new PR, and a 51 second lead over 2nd place.  My teammates also managed to better their times on the course from this year’s scrimmage against WT in September.

    My latest race was the SOL American Conference Championships last Friday at Lehigh University. It was a very bitter sweet race for me. It was my 3rd Suburban One League American Conference XC title, but it was also the last league cross country race of my high school career. It seems like it was just yesterday when I crossed that finish line as a sophomore with no XC experience at all. The race started a little unexpectedly with the wind kicking up just as we took the line.  But we went out strong driving the first 800 meters into strong head-on wind gusts.  As we completed the first bottom loop of the Lehigh 5k course, the lead pack of Francis Ferruzzi from Upper Dublin, Wissahickon’s Sam Brooks, and I began to pull away from the rest of the group. With a mile and a half to go Francis and I began to push the pace and separated a little from Sam. I felt pretty good, so with a little less than a mile to go, I surged and was able to pull away from Francis. I finished with a 15:50, which is a 13 second PR for me on that course.  Congratulations to the American Conference for pushing the pace enough to garner everyone great times. In addition to my 1st place finish, my Golden Bear teammates had fine performances as well.  Junior Petro Sokirney medaled by placed 16th running a 17:54 and sophomore Kyle Irwin medaled as he crossed the line in 20th place with an 18:10.  Senior Matt Hoagland and freshman Nash Seiberlich rounded out our team’s successful effort with two big PR’s on the course. All in all, it was a good day for U.M. and a successful end to Coach Hein’s 39th, and unfortunately for Upper Moreland runners, his last league season.  We’ll try to keep the season going as long as we can through the next couple of championship weekends.

    Next week is the PIAA District 1 Championships, again at Lehigh. I think it is safe to say that this is going to be an awesome show of talent in our state. District 1 has a reputation of being one of the most competitive districts in the state, and this year it is really living up to its name. With many of the best XC runners in PA competing, fast times and close finishes are to be expected. My only goal coming into districts this year is for a good race. I have placed 12th and 13th the last two years, and with the experience I have gained from the last few races, I hope to place top five with another great PR. As with any race I go into, there is some element of nervousness.  This year is no different, but I have confidence in the hard work I have been putting in at practice to carry me to a good finish and a 3rd trip to Hershey.

    Good luck to everyone competing in districts this week, and I hope to see you all at states!

-Drew

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #2 (September 30, 2011)
 

Hello Everyone!

I hope all is well with your seasons so far! This week has been a crazy week with weather and races for most, me included.  The Bears and I competed at the 5th Annual PIAA Foundation meet at Hershey last Saturday, after sloshing through our home course in our 1st league loss against Wissahickon on Wednesday.   

Wednesday was an interesting meet in that most of us actually broke personal records on our home course, which as some of you may know, contains some monster hills.  We took it out pretty fast on the first 500 meters on the track but as soon as we hit the first hill it was clear how the rest of the race was expected.  I finished with a respectable time, and a couple of my teammates broke the freshman and sophomore course records. Even though it was a loss, we viewed the race as a good training session, which proved to be a major help in our race on Saturday.  Congrats to Wissahickon on the win, and good luck to them in the next few weeks.

    On Saturday, I competed in one of the best meets in my XC career. With a stacked lineup of runners from across the state, I was slightly nervous before the competition.  But all my concerns about having a good race on such a challenging course left with the sound of the gun.  I took the lead and held it for the first mile. After exchanging the lead with Hatboro’s Sam Hibbs, I hung with the front pack for the rest of the race.  I finished 4th overall with a decent time of 16:43; 9 seconds off Sam, who won.  The most important thing that I took from this race, however, is getting over that huge psychological hurdle of having a good race on that extremely tough course.  In the past, I have let the difficulty of the course effect my state performances, but getting a good race in with friendly competition is going to help me a lot at the end of the season when it counts.

All in all it has been a good week for us. We hope to continue to improve in our next invitational at Salesianum this weekend.  Yet again we are running on a historically hilly course, but we are confident that training on an equally difficult course gives us the competitive edge.  Last year I placed second, but this year I hope to improve both placement and time.

Good luck to all competing this week!

-Drew

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry #1 (September 19, 2011)


Introduction

Hello Everyone!

     My name is Drew Magaha, I am a senior at Upper Moreland High School, in Willow Grove. The folks at PennTrackXC have asked me to compile some of my experiences, thoughts, and tips into this year’s Cross Country Journal. This gives me a great opportunity to share my senior season with all of you!

    I grew up as a soccer player whose skill with the ball was described as mediocre by most. I had good speed with the ball, but struggled to keep the ball close enough to make those attacking moves necessary to be a well-rounded player.  I played soccer for 11 years until I pulled my hamstring freshman year in high school. That was a defining moment in my life because at that point I realized that I didn’t belong. After much thought, I decided to switch to cross country, thanks to the guidance of my track coach John Heins. I had 3 successful outdoor track seasons under my belt, but had mixed feelings about another running related sport. The thought of running a longer distance, as well as leaving my beloved track and having to turn right, gave me nightmares. But I tried it and was instantly hooked.  After a long first season of getting acclimated to the racing conditions, I finished my first season with a league title and a trip to states. This was the first time I had competed at a high caliber level in any sport, which gave me an opportunity to see what I was made of, and valuable racing experience. Since then, I have competed at state competitions 5 more times, each time gaining more confidence, having more fun; and most importantly, more success.

    I can hardly believe it is my senior year! Where has the time gone? I remember my first race as a sophomore like it was yesterday.  My goal was to finish, let alone finish with a respectable time. Now my goals are significantly harder, but may lead to the best rewards in my short time running. A couple of my goals this year include breaking the illusive 16 minute mark, as well as three-peating my league title.  My top goal, however, transcends the difficulty level of any XC goal I have set in the past; placing top ten at the state championships.  As many of you may know, the states race is one of the absolute craziest races to compete in.  Anything can happen!  My last two visits to XC states are a harsh testament to that statement. Without going into too much detail, my performances were sub-par and frankly inexcusable. However, that is the past and this year will end in sharp contrast. As I have learned over the past few years, anything is possible if you work hard, maintain a positive attitude, and leave it all in the race. However corny it may sound, this statement is true for all of my races, and will definitely be put to good use this year.

    As for training so far, my coach and I are taking a different approach this year with lower mileage workouts. I am notoriously fragile when it comes to heavy mileage as proven by last year’s spring track season.  My hopes of extending the spring season past states were dashed when my chronic foot pain became too great to fight through.  Fortunately, I caught it early enough to be remedied by a period of rest. After a few weeks of going stark raving mad, I started summer training with low mileage long runs that increased in distance and intensity as the summer went on. We took the same approach, more or less, in camp. Then after school started we went back to the normal grind.  I think that all of the rest that I “suffered” through, as well as the gradual build up in workout intensity, has prepared me for a great senior season with UM.

    I opened my senior year with the John Sharp Viking Invitational, which turned out to be one of the best races I have ever run. Right off the gun, I took control of the race for the first mile and set the pace fast. Then, some of my friends took the lead for the rest of the race. With Sam Hibbs leading, we continued to push the pace, ultimately leading all of us to great finishing times, and me to break the 16 minute mark.  I couldn’t be happier with the race, considering the fact that I accomplished one of my goals for the season. Placing 5th does not even bother me because it was a great race with excellent competition and great times to boot.  I hope to continue to drop time and places in my next race at the P.I.A.A Invitational in Hershey on the 24th.

I’ll be in touch with another entry soon, until then best of luck to everyone starting their league seasons!

-Drew


    
    

 

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