XC: Who to Watch in PA: Posted Aug 27th - Kennedy Weisner, Elk County Catholic

 

Posted Monday 8/27: Kennedy Weisner (Elk CountyCatholic) 2014


Posted Sunday:  Courtney Smith (Unionville) 2014 | Ryan Smathers (North East) 2013


Posted 8/25: Brendan Shearn (North Schuylkill) 2013


Posted 8/24: Conner Quinn (Hatboro-Horsham) 2013


Posted 8/22: Dan Savage (Cardinal O'Hara) 2013


Posted 8/21: Marissa Sheva, 2015 & Caitlyn Sheva, 2013 (Pennridge) | Tom Coyle (LaSalle College HS) 2013


Posted 8/20: Daniel Jaskowak (Grove City) 2013 | Sara Sargent (Pennsbury) 2013

 

Photos by Phil Grove and Don Rich

 

 

 

Kennedy Weisner

Elk County Catholic HS (PIAA District 9)

2014

 



1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads)? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?

My summer training has gone very well!! I mainly run with my mom and my teammate, Drew, and we do a lot of our running on the roads. This summer, however, my mom and I decided that we were going to find some good trails to run on. Whenever we saw a random path, we would follow it! We found some really good trails this way. We also did some awesome group workouts on Wednesdays with some of my other teammates!! One day a few basketball/football players came, and I don't think they had ever realized how hard cross country runners really work! One of my favorite weeks of running this summer was when I went to the High Performance Distance Academy in Virginia with three of my teammates. We went on lots of cool runs, and running with people from different teams/states was super fun! My favorite run that week was a 10 mile trail run through the woods. Another day that week we ran 6.5 miles up a mountain. The first 100 meters of the run was down hill, but after that it never stopped climbing. Running the whole way up was an accomplishment in itself! Plus, the view at the top was amazing!!


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

I have many goals for this cross country season. I want to run in college and beyond, so overall I want to continue to improve. I also want to continue to stay healthy and injury free. Some specific goals for this season include running under 18 minutes for the 5k, winning states, and qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals. It has been a dream of mine since 6th grade to qualify for Nationals, and it is something I really want to accomplish!


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

Every race is a learning experience, and I try to use what I learn in one race to help me in the next race. It's really important to keep things in perspective and be patient. Just because I don't accomplish my goals in one race doesn't mean I can't in the next race! One of the most important things I learned was that progress takes time, but as long as I continue to work hard and do everything I need to do, it will happen.


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

I'm looking forward to competing in all of our races this year! I'm especially excited for the McQuaid Invitational in Rochester, NY. We go to this race every year, and it is my favorite! It is a huge event with 25 different races and over 7,000 runners! It's only 3 miles, but it can be a fast course on a dry day. Just talking about it makes me really excited! In addition to McQuaid, I am looking forward to racing at PTXC4 and also Districts, States, and Regionals!


5. What are your expectations for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?

We have a small team with only 8 girls. Seven of the girls ran last year, so we are looking to improve upon our performances from last year. Our goals this year include winning the District title again and returning to States. Last year we placed 11th in AA, but we move down to A this year. We are hoping to be competitive in A, and possibly even medal at states! All of the girls are looking good, and if we all stay healthy and have a good day, I think we have a chance!


6. What was it like challenging a runner like Angel Piccirillo? How did your races with her improve you as a runner?

Running against Angel the past two years has been lots of fun! She is a great competitor, and I will miss competing with her this year! I have been really lucky to have someone of her caliber to run against, especially as a younger runner learning how to race. My races with her have really helped me progress as a runner, especially time-wise. I have run some of my best times in races against her! I think running with Angel has helped me push myself farther than I knew I could and has given me confidence when racing other girls of her caliber.


7. Being one of the favorites this year, how will you adjust to being the one everyone may be going after instead of being the one going after Angel?

I haven't really thought of myself as one of the favorites, and I honestly don't think it changes anything. I'm still working hard to run fast and win whether I'm leading a race or trying to chase others down. It doesn't matter if you're number 1, number 2, or number 100, people are always going to be chasing after you, and there is always someone out there who wants it just as bad. Once the gun goes off, there is no guarantee to how the race is going to play out, so I am just going to prepare myself the best I can, like I always do.



 

 

Courtney Smith

Unionville HS (PIAA District 1)

2014



1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads)? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?

The team has been working hard all summer and we are very excited for the season.  Summer training went well and we keep improving.  We averaged around 30 miles per week.  We did most of our distance runs on the trails of local parks because the change in scenery always makes running more fun.  For other practices we ran mostly on the grass or on the track.  One of the most memorable runs was when Anne Birkenmaier, Emily Fisher, and I signed up for a 10K fun run on trails.  The ending of the run was called an "off trail scramble" up a huge hill!  I also did the Princeton cross country camp this summer and got to run with girls from other states and make friends with girls from other PA teams like North Penn.


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

My main goal this cross country season is to continue improving from last year.  I'm very excited for the season and hope to PR.  I would also like to be able to compete with some of the top girls in the state.


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

Since last year was my first year running, every race was a learning experience.  Probably the most important thing I learned last year was to trust the program and the coaches here at Unionville.  As a team, we learned that hard work pays off and that we have to believe in ourselves.  We learned to work together and stay focused.  I also learned that not every race is going to be a good one, but we can reflect on our mistakes to make us better.


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

I am looking forward to competing in the Hershey Foundation Invitational because I know a lot of great runners and teams will be there!  Plus, it is a good chance to get to race on the Hershey course before states.  I am also looking forward to Leagues, Districts, and States because our team has been working so hard all year and hopefully this is when it will pay off!


5. What are your expectations for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?

Last year we were a very young team and did not lose any scorers.  This year the talent level is very high in both our League and District but we hope to be one of the best teams.  Also, we are aiming to improve and be competitive at the state level.  Everyone on the team was dedicated this summer and driven to succeed.  All of the girls and the coaches put in a lot of time and effort.


6. What will be different about this upcoming season now that you've already run one full season?

This year is completely different than last year for me.  Last year was a lot less pressure since I did not have any expectations - cross country was just something I wanted to try because I have always loved running.  I was just learning the sport and every race was kind of a surprise.  Now that I know what to expect, my goals and expectations are higher.  I have put a lot more pressure on myself but I am hoping to use that to become the best runner I can be.


7. With your team being one of the younger teams, what do you think the team can improve on to become better?

We are a really close group of girls because we spend a lot of time together so we are always working to make each other better.  This year we have increased the amount of cross training we do.  I think the experience from last year in itself will also help us continue to improve.  We are learning to trust ourselves and get the most out of our abilities.

 

 

Ryan Smathers

North East HS (PIAA District 10)

2013


1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads)? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?

Mostly I run on the road for longer distances to help with building stamina for the transition from track. With all the running I do the amount of mileage is around 50 to 55 miles a week. My first 5k of this year I ran near my PR and so I think that this season I am going to improve tremendously.


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

My expectations for this year mostly go with improving my times and being more competitive in XC. I am going to and have been striving to become better this year especially with the addition of class A competition has been moved aroun, but in the end it is the clock that I want to beat.


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

I learned pace in the mile this past season. So I'm going to take that knowledge and move it to XC in the 5k 'cause it changes the race dramatically.


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

My team has decided to go to some very competitive races such as Penn State's Spiked Shoe and Coopers Lake. And of course, I'm looking forward to states just to see how well my hard work had paid off.


5. What are your expectations for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?

The team is excited for the season. Some of them are young but have worked to become better each day. I believe that they will pull together closing gaps and become a competitive team for this XC season.


6. What adjustments did you make from cross country to track last season that you hope to continue doing this cross country season?

From XC to track the mileage dropped slightly and speed work increased transitioned for mid distance rather than the long distance. Then the opposite for track to XC.


7. What is your greatest strength as a cross country runner?

Strengths of Cross Country is that I am experienced I know the people I am up against and I have the ability to keep my mind focused thoughout the race.

 

 

Brendan Shearn

North Schuylkill HS (PIAA District 11)

2013

 

1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads)? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?

My summer running has gone very well. I do most of my running in my town around town and on the few surrounding trails we have. I also do most of my running alone so I was able to increase my mileage into somewhere between 60-70. I really don't track my mileage or use a gps so most of my runs are done more on feel. I really think that helps because I am not trying to hit a specific number; I am simply running. If I have some days I am feeling great I could go a little farther, or if I'm feeling bad I could cut it a little short.


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

I have some pretty high expectations for the 2012 cross country season. My first goal is to repeat as state champion. I feel like with the new classes I have something left to prove and I really want to go out and win. Also, I would like to break the state record on the state course. I think it is a very impressive mark and to break it would be a huge achievement. Lastly, I would like to finish top 10 in Foot Locker regionals and to make it to nationals. I know that these are very lofty goals, but I believe if you work hard and set your sights high you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to.


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

Last year in cross country I really learned a lot about racing. I was used to racing in my league where I could go out hard and win the race from the start, whereas in bigger invites that strategy wouldn't work. I learned how to sit in a pack and wait for the right time to make a move. I also learned that there is a time to sit in a pack and there is also a time to push from the start. I knew that at the state championship for track if I had waited too long someone else might have been able to win. Basically I learned that there are many different ways to win a race and that you have to be able to win multiple ways in order to be successful.


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

I am really excited for a couple of the races I am running this year. PTXC4 is the big one early where I will get to race a couple of really good guys like Conner Quinn, Sam Williams, and Curt Jewett. I know there will be a ton of other great competition there so I'm really looking forward to running a really competitive meet early. Also, I am running the Briarwood Invitational which is a totally new race for me. I am looking forward to racing some different competition there as well. Last the state championship is always one of my favorite meets and I love the course, so I always love racing on that course.


5. What are your expectations for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?

My team is a very small team, but I believe we have a lot of potential. Most people haven't really heard of North Schuylkill, but I believe we can be very competitive in our league, district and hopefully the state. I believe if we work very hard we can possibly make it to states as a team which would be a very big step for our program.


6. What did you learn in your junior year racing against elite seniors like Dustin Wilson and Sam Hibbs last season?

Sam Hibbs and Dustin Wilson both have been influential runners on my career. I went from emulating them as a younger runner to trying to beat them as I got older. I believe that Sam was a very successful runner because he was a tough runner. He would go out in every race and run harder then everyone else to win. I also learned a lot from Dustin. I have run a lot of races against Dustin and I really learned a lot from how he races. In his senior year he was the undisputed top xc runner in Pennsylvania. I learned how to race with a target on your back. He knew going into all the races that he was the guy to beat, and he still would go out and push the pace and prove to everyone why he was the best. I learned how to deal with that pressure and still perform well.


7. Entering the season as the defending state champion, what will be some of the biggest challenges you think you will face?

I think the biggest challenge I will face entering the season is being the one with a target on my back. I know that everyone will be trying to beat me and I won't be an unknown runner like I was early last season. It will certainly be something new to adjust to but I think I will be able to handle it and hopefully it won't affect me too much.


 

 

 

 

Conner Quinn

Hatboro-Horsham HS (PIAA District 1)

2013



1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads)? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?

So far my summer training has been going very well. I run mostly on roads, but I try to switch things up as much as possible. I will go out to valley green and tyler state parks with my teammates and we will do runs. I also enjoy running at Peace Valley. I mostly do 60-65 miles a week. I feel very comfortable doing that much mileage, but I do build up over the summer to get to that point.


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

I have high expectations for this upcoming cross country season. My goal after last year was to repeat as state champ. But my ultimate goal is to qualify for Foot Locker Nationals. This has been one of my goals since I was a sophomore and I was disappointed after last year. I know these are not easy goals to obtain, but I feel I have put myself in position to accomplish them with the work I have been doing over the summer.


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

After my track season last year the most important thing that I learned is that you cannot dwell on the past. You cannot let a bad performance effect you. Bad races happen and you have to realize that. Not every race can be a PR. The faster you realize that, the faster you can move on.


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

I am very excited to be competing in PTXC4 against Brendan Shearn and Sam Williams my first race of the season. I am also looking forward to running Paul Short. These are two meets which our team has never done before and I do not know what to expect.


5. What are your expectations for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?

Our team is very young, but I think we can surprise a lot of teams. I feel that we have a shot to win our league if everything comes together at the right time. If we were to make it to states as a team, that would be a very successful season.


6. You and Sam Hibbs were a strong training and racing duo. With Sam graduating, how will you adjust to being the lone top runner?

It was hard this year coming back and not having Sam to train with. He was a great person to train with. He always pushed me to my fullest and that is something you do not get often in high school. But I feel I have adjusted to training without Sam just fine. I have done workouts and done distance runs and I feel that I am perfectly fine doing it myself. Of course I would much rather have him here, but I feel that me training by myself is making me even stronger.


7. As the defending state champion, everyone will be aspiring to take that position. How will you handle the expectations of defending the title?

I know that this year I won't surprise anyone at the state meet, but I do not feel any pressure to win again. It is all on me. I have put myself in great position to do well this season. I am putting in great mileage this summer and I am doing everything I can to win again. I put more pressure on myself to win more than anybody else. I think that I can handle these expectations without a problem. My coach Russ Coleman has taught me that, nobody can expect more out of you than you.


 

 

 

 

Dan Savage

Cardinal O'Hara HS (PIAA District 12)

2013

 

1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads)? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?

My team and I have done most of our running on trails this summer mainly at Rose Tree Park. We have been building the miles up slowly and just finished up our first 50 mile week. Running with the guys at O'Hara is always a good time but I'd have to say running the Sea Isle 10 miler was one of the best. It's always a fun race because there are so many people cheering for you along the way. This was my seventh year of doing it and having most of the guys on the team there made it even better.


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

You can never really expect much with cross country since anything can happen. But I'd like to be up there running with the top guys in the state every race. A top place at the state meet would also be nice.


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

I learned last year that I'm more of a cross country guy so that gives me a confidence booster going into the season. My team and I also learned that one point can separate winning and losing. I believe this knowledge and experience will help us fight for position at the end of races this season.


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

Last year competing in the Great American Festival in Cary, N.C. was a great experience and I think we are planning on going again. I also have been hearing that a good amount of top teams and individuals plan on competing in Briarwood. That being said I look forward to both of these races and what the rest the season has in store.


5. What are your expectations for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?

Like I said before you just never know but we are hoping to do some big things this year. We all know how bad it felt to lose at the state championships in a tie breaker so we are going to obviously try to win that state gold. I really think we have a great group of guys who are dedicated and will do anything for this team. We are excited for the season and hope to compete with the top teams at every meet.


6. How did you guys practice pack running and how comforting is it to know that you have a large group running around for most of a race?

We practice pack running simply by motivating everyone to stick together at practice whether it's a long run or a threshold. Keeping close to each other during workouts is also a big help that I believe carries over to the races. When you look around and see your teammates all close by, it is pretty comforting but even more motivating to stay up there and not lose any ground.


7. What will you do as a senior to stay near the top of the state after so many great races as a team last season and the close 2nd place at the state meet?

I'm going to continue to work hard, believe in my training and coaches, and give my all every time I lace up those xc spikes. I'm determined to do everything I can to get the lowest amount of points for O'Hara throughout the season. Also with the third place finish my sophomore year and second place finish last year, it would pretty cool to get a first place finish for my last year.

 

 

 

 

 

Marissa Sheva, 2015 
Caitlyn Sheva, 2013

Pennridge HS



1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads)? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?

Caitlyn (Right at PIAA State Champs) - I wanted this season to be my strongest season yet so I started my mileage in June, mostly running at Peace Valley or on roads. I ranged from 40-50 miles a week so by the end of the mileage I would hit 400 miles for the summer. We only did a few runs at Green Lane on the trails, but that's where I always had the most fun on my runs.

Marissa- Unlike last year, I will actually have a base going into the season. I have averaged about 45 miles per week since my break after track states! I have run almost every mile with Caitlyn this summer either on the roads, at various parks, or on trails which is where most of my favorite runs took place


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

Caitlyn- My expectations for this upcoming season is to improve on my times for every course we run on. I worked a lot harder this summer than I have any other summer so I hope to medal at states this year.

Marissa- As a top 10 finisher at states last year, I hope to place higher and possibly be a factor in the state title this year!


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

Caitlyn- During last track season I learned that perseverance pays off. My cross country season wasn't what I expected so I worked harder during winter. I was able to PR at districts and break 11:00 and ended up 11th in the state in the 3200 during outdoor.

Marissa- Every race I ran last year was a learning experience for me because it was my first year running cross country (or a race over 1 mile at that)! I discovered my strengths and weaknesses as a cross country runner and I hope to improve on those weaknesses for this season.


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

Caitlyn- Lehigh is my favorite course that we run on so I'm really excited for Leagues and Districts. Although the state course has been a challenge for me in the past, I look forward to competing there this year also.

Marissa
(Left at PIAA State Champs) - I am really looking forward to the Hershey Invitational because it was my favorite course last year! I'm also excited for Leagues and Districts because it's a fast course, and States hopefully!


5. What are your expectations for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?

Caitlyn- We have experienced runners returning and talented incoming freshman so I think the team can be competitive in our league.

Marissa- We have a lot of young talent, and the majority of last year's team is coming back this year so I am anticipating a lot of PR's and improvement from the 2011 season.


6. What did you learn from 2-time 3200 meter champion and teammate Tori Gerlach that will prepare for the new season?

Caitlyn- Watching the difference in Tori's running from sophomore year to junior year definitely taught me that hard work pays off. She put in so much work during the summer going into her junior year and it showed, with her medaling at cross country and indoor states and then winning the 3200 outdoor.

Marissa- Even though I only spent one year with Tori, she showed me the importance of competition. Racing her made me a much better runner and having her and Cait with me during every workout was rough, but will definitely help in the long run! Good luck at PSU Tori!


7. How do you two work as a team in training and in races that will make you a tough duo to beat?

Caitlyn- Marissa and I have been training together and been on relays together since we both started track, so now racing together is like the same thing. I always seem to run better when I'm racing with Marissa; she really pushes me and the familiarity of running with her definitely helps.

Marissa- Caitlyn and I are so used to running with each other, whether itís in training or just a long weekend run, so there's always a level of comfort there even when we race together. We are each other's biggest fans!

 

 

 

 

 


Tom Coyle

LaSalle College HS

2013

 


1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads)? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?

My summer training has gone pretty well so far! I took some time off after the Henderson Distance Festival and started up with easy running at about 20 miles, taking a few days off here and there. From there, I've steadily built my mileage up to around 70 miles, and by the end of the summer I'm getting up to 80. Lansdale, where I live, doesn't have many soft surfaces so I like to drive to some nearby trails to run. I've been so blessed to have the opportunity to take a service trip to Browning, Montana, where I had some of the most beautiful runs of my life. The road on which we ran, we saw more horses than people! On the way out, we looked straight into the sunrise and we could see the Great Plains and rolling hills for miles. When we would turn back, the Rocky Mountains looked like nature's version of the Philadelphia skyline. I was awestruck by scenery especially during our runs for that whole week.


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

Personally, I have a couple loose goals for the upcoming season. My first one is to be happy. I have always felt like you can't run fast without being happy, and I want to take in everything about my final year. My second loose goal is to be healthy and run fast. Much of my summer training revolved around improving fitness but staying healthy at the same time. My other expectations are to run a PR at our home course, and try to win the state title.


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

Heading into the indoor state championship, I felt as if I never ran to my potential at a state meet. In 2011, I was in the lead halfway by 20 meters and crashed hard the last mile. During my sophomore year, I succumbed to nerves and went out way too hard at the state meets we competed in. It took me until my junior year, but at the indoor state meet and at outdoors, I learned how to race at the championship level. It took a lot of training and a lot of disappointing races, but I feel like I finally know how to use my strengths in the championship races. It will take some testing in the invitationals, but I have learned how to cope with the nerves and run smart on the big stage.


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

We are running new races this year in order to get more experience on hilly courses in a fast race. Our lack of experience really cost us at the state meet, but learning how to race on the big stage can be crucial. We are starting up with the Briarwood Invitational, which is on our home course and will give us a fast race and we can use our experience there to our advantage. The next invitational we head to Hershey for the Foundation Meet. This will get us used to racing on the Hershey course before the state meet, and it will help with the young guys on our squad. Before the championship season, we race the Shore Coaches Invitational where we run at the historic Holmdel Park. It's possible that I can get a rematch with Edward Cheresek and that meet always brings in the best of New Jersey.


5. What are your expectations for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?

Everyone of our guys has been working their butts off this summer and this year the work will pay off. We return our top 5 and we have good credentials for this upcoming season. Our main goal is to perfect the process (putting in the work everyday and doing the right things) but we are looking forward to a championship season. We look to win our league, which is a very respected title. In order to qualify for states, we have to run a tough race at districts and win. Finally at states, we are looking to grab a spot on the podium. But again, the only way we can even talk about these goals is to put in the work in the summer and do the right things.


6. As a mile state champion, what is the toughest training adjustment from track to cross country?

The hardest adjustment for me is the lack of speed work! I love putting in the miles and I'm used to putting in pretty good weeks of training. Especially toward the end of outdoor track, I felt like I could run 200s in a workout with ease. Now, I feel like the aerobic and strength work has taken away from my speed. When October rolls around, we will move toward faster workouts once our strength base has been established. I love long workouts, but I certainly do miss the faster track workouts.


7. What are the pros and cons on running on such a hilly course like Belmont Plateau on a regular basis?

Belmont Plateau has been my home course since the 1st grade, so I know a lot about it. The first con is comparing PRs. We don't get too many chances to run fast courses, so I always feel our PRs are a lot slower than my friends in the SOL or from around the state. Also, running there every dual meet REALLY takes a toll on your body. Working out, racing at Belmont and putting in the miles can really make you sore. But Belmont provides what other courses don't -- long, steep hills. As much as some of the guys on the team hate the notorious hills, they give us experience that proves really valuable at the state meet. Not only does the experience help us, but I think Belmont is a crucial tool to just get our team tougher. It hurts to run a fast race at Belmont, regardless of age, sex, distance or skill level. But by putting ourselves through the pain, we get better both mentally and physically.


 

 

 

 

Daniel Jaskowak

Grove City HS (PIAA District 10)

2013
 

1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads)? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?


I do most of my training runs on the roads.   There aren’t many trails around Grove City, making trail running rather difficult. However, one of our coaches took a couple of the varsity kids out to McConnell’s Mills a couple times this summer.  McConnell’s Mills is a State Park about 25 minutes away from Grove City.  It is absolutely beautiful there.  It has some beautiful scenic routes and these gigantic rocks that are just amazing.   It is a wonderful place to run.  Along with its breath-taking scenery, it has plenty of hills to keep you busy.  The longest hill that we ran up was about a mile long.  I remember my coach saying that the hill was pretty long when we first were approaching it, then about 400 meters later it leveled out.  I was a little disappointed and also relieved that it was over.  Then to my dismay and pleasure, it picked right back up again.  That is a nice change of pace from running in Grove City.  Grove City is a pretty small town; two miles in pretty much any direction will take you out of town.  Consequently I run mostly on country roads.  The most mileage I ran in a week was 54 miles.  I am very happy to be able to run that because I have been battling some type of a foot injury since the beginning of July and my training has suffered accordingly.  Luckily I have put in over a hundred miles on it without any problems.  I’m not exactly sure what the problem was, but I got a new pair of shoes that “fit” my running style and they seem to be helping a lot.  Along with running I have started to lift weights during the week.  It’s nothing impressive, just some general strength workouts like pull ups and squats.  I think that might make up for the lack of mileage that I got during the summer, but I guess we will just have to see about that.  


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

Expectations for this year…  Honestly, I would just like to PR on all the courses that I ran last year.  That is the only way to really gauge improvement, even though race day conditions can sometimes screw that up.  For instance last year, after Boardman, all the meets that we went to were ankle deep in mud (with the exception of States).  When the PIAA decided to make Cross Country into three divisions I must admit I was upset.  Facing the AAA guys at States would have been great: a chance at redemption you could say.   However, that won’t happen.  Instead, I am running in a new division.  To be honest, I think I have a great shot to win the State title this year.  Is it going to be easy? Not at all.  I am racing a talented field of AA runners and the top ranked AA runner in the state of Pennsylvania, who has the XC crown and the 3200 meter crown.  Props to Brendan, he has done great.  He will not be taken lightly whenever we race.  I had the pleasure of training with him for about a week this summer and we had a blast.  I am so excited to see him in the State meet.  


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

The biggest thing that I learned from last year is that, the only thing holding you back from doing the best you can is yourself.  I went into every race last year thinking that I was either going to win or that I was going to run very well.  It wasn’t being pompous thinking that I was the best runner in the state of Pennsylvania.  I was just very confident with my training and knew that I had a chance.  I remember warming up for the State meet thinking about all the big Philly names that I was going to be racing against like Magaha, Quinn, and Hibbs.  I was genuinely intimidated by these guys.  But, one thing that always reassures me when I am nervous before a race is that as soon as that gun goes off, I will be fine.  I won’t be nervous while I am running, because I will be focusing on everything I need to do to run my best.  


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

Schenely Park, Red White and Blue Classic… I PR-ed there last year by over a minute. I’m pretty excited to get back there and race again.  I also really want to see how our team does, because the AA State champions are going to be running there as well and they are our new competition.  I just want to see how well we match up with Quaker Valley, and some of the big AAA schools.  States… I am excited to get back on the Hershey Course and race a new field of guys.  I would like to improve my silver medal, but I know that it will be tough with the strong AA field that I will be racing.  I am excited for Foot Locker as well.  That is always a fun road trip for me and my Dad.  Hopefully I can place a little better this year!


5. What are your expectations for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?

Team Expectations… This year we have a really strong group of guys.  We have about 5 guys all around the same pace this year.  I’m really excited to see how we match up against some of the AA Pittsburgh teams like Quaker Valley.  I would like to see us placing at States, but who knows.  I just hope we all stay healthy and have a bunch of fun doing what we love.  On the girls’ side of things, both of my sisters are running their first season of cross country and I am really excited to see how they do.  My oldest sister is coming off two ACL surgeries and is doing great in the preseason/summer training.  My youngest sister just started running and she is doing a fantastic job.  I’m really excited to watch them race!


6. What did you improve on last summer that led to your breakout season last year and that you hope to continue doing in your senior year?

Last summer was all about running a lot of miles.  My previous summers had been pretty weak in terms of training, so I was ready for some change. I guess to kind of put this into perspective, I probably ran 30 to 35 miles a week my sophomore year and last year it was more like 45-50 miles a week.  I was blessed to have a great running partner in Ben Hoffman, running a lot of 8 mile runs and pushing me at mile 7 and 8.  He was actually beating me at the local 5k’s during the summer so that gave me a little extra push as well.  I think that this year, I am going to keep my mileage up as best I can.  My mileage tends to lack once the season starts and I am hoping to be able to change that this year.  


7. Now that you're on the map, how will you adjust to being the guy most runners in PA will be chasing after instead of being the chaser?

I think that all I really have to do to make that “adjustment” is to keep a level head and always give my all in the races I run.  I think last year has prepared me for this “adjustment” and I am excited to see how this year turns out.  Another thing that will help me is that I am taking this season one race at a time.  I have goals for every race and they are not set in stone.  I’m going to go out in every race this year just like last year, and try to have as much fun as I can along the way.

 


 

Sara Sargent

Pennsbury HS (PIAA District 1)

2013

 

1. Talk about your summer training. Where did you do your running (trails, roads.? How miles/week did you run? Any fun runs from the summer you want to share?

My summer training went very well. Many of my runs were either on the canal or in Tyler State Park. Sometimes I would change it up and run throughout Princeton or the surrounding neighborhoods around my town. This summer, I incorporated more cross training such as swimming and biking. One of my most memorable runs this summer was with my sister, Olivia, a rising freshman, and my Dad. We started our run on the canal and afterwards jumped in the Delaware River to cool off from the heat! It was a great way to end a long run. Another one of my favorite runs this summer was participating in The Color Run with my teammates and close friends, Lori and Julia. We had a blast!


2. What are your expectations for the 2012 cross country season?

I do not set expectations for myself, but rather process goals. I would like to leave high school with a bang the way I came into it.


3. What did you learn last year (cross country or track) that you hope will help you coming into this season?

Last year, especially during cross country, I learned that it is impossible to achieve your goals unless you have complete faith and confidence in yourself. You have to fully believe in your training and know that you can do anything you put your mind to.


4. Talk about some of the races your are looking forward to competing in?

I am excited to compete in every one of my races considering it is my last high school cross country season. However, I am extremely looking forward to the Foundation Invitational at Hershey because it is the only opportunity I get to race the state course before the actual State Championship. I love this meet because while I am running the course, I have great memories of when I won cross country states as a freshman. It gives me motivation and confidence in my abilities. I am excited for my League Championship, Districts, States and post-season.


5. What are your expectations
for your team? What do you think you all can do this year?
your team? What do yu think you all can do this year?
I have a lot of faith in my team this cross country season. We are a strong group of girls with a very good freshman class coming in. I am especially excited this year to have my sister, Olivia, join me on the starting line. I know if my team works hard and stays focused, we will have the ability to three-peat as State Champions and possibly earn ourselves a trip to Nike Cross Nationals.


6. What is the one thing you have learned in your first three years that will prepare you to be a leader to a team looking to 3 peat as state champions?

The one thing I have learned in my first three years that will prepare me to be a leader to my team looking to three peat as state champions is it is essential to always stay positive. Positivity must be evident throughout the team during the whole course of the cross country months. I am excited to lead my team to hopefully a very successful season!


7. With so much experience coming back, what advantages do you think that you will have when you get to the big meets?

With my experience through the first three years of running at an elite high school level, I think I have an advantage when it comes to the big meets because I have learned to use my nerves in a positive way rather than letting them take over my mind. Instead of becoming so nervous that I lose focus of the task at hand, I have learned to redirect my nerves so that it effects me in a positive way.



 

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