Talkin XC 2014: Griffin Molino

Griffin Molino

South Williamsport High School


XC- 15:44, 3,200m- 9:19, 1,600- 4:12


Griffin had a memorable 2013-14 year. The South Williamsport senior enters the season as the lone PIAA state champion looking to win back to back crowns.In the spring, Molino once again surprised everyone, running a solo 4:12.93 in April to highlight a season that ended in a 3200 meter medal at Shippensburg. A repeat of 2013 would make Molino the 1st Class A runner to win back to back state titles. Molino took a few minutes to talk about the upcoming season and the challenges he will face now that he is a state champion.


PennTrackXC - How is your summer training going?  What kind of runs are you doing and what kind of mileage are you hitting?

My summer training began just a few weeks ago. I took an extended break after track season due to a string of leg injuries that flared up at the end of the season. So far, my training has just been getting base mileage in with weeks of 35 and 42 miles at a decent pace but nothing too crazy. My training so far has been pretty relaxed, and it’s been nice to not have to run alone which is usually the case since I don’t have a team. My coach has been able to run twice a week with me, once for my long run and other time for a shorter but quicker paced day. I’ve also gotten to run some with my girlfriend, Hannah Weber, who runs for Williamsport. Running with her helps me slow down some on the easy days to prevent my injuries from coming back up.


PennTrackXC - What is the most valuable lesson you learned last season and how can it be used to improve your 2014 season?

The most valuable lesson I learned last season was to take better care of my body. I’m not the type of person who likes to do a lot of stretching and warming up and that caused me to get some injuries that kept coming back. So once I began to concentrate more on the little things and taking care of my body, I was injury free and was feeling better day in and day out. So this season I plan on taking care of my body right from the start and hopefully I can stay injury free throughout the whole season.


PennTrackXC - For what 2014 meets are you most excited?

The meets I’m most excited for this cross country season are the meets farther into the season. The state meet is one I’m very excited for. It’s my favorite meet of the season. There is something about the course and the atmosphere of the state meet that I absolutely love. I’m also excited for the Nike Northeast regional race. That race is always packed with great runners and the race is always fast and exciting. Lastly my goal is to make it back to NXN, so if I do qualify for that meet that will also be one I’m most excited for. NXN is like no other race, it’s definitely a dream come true to go run in that race and I hope I can make it back this season.


PennTrackXC - When and how did you get started in cross country?

My running career started my ninth grade year during wrestling season when I would have to do runs late at night to lose weight so I could wrestle 106lbs. I enjoyed my late night runs, but never thought I’d go out for track or xc. During that season, I became good friends with a kid named Colt Young. Colt was an excellent track athlete, and overall, excelled in sports. One day at wrestling practice, Colt broke his neck in a freak accident and everything changed. Colt couldn’t run track that year and asked me to do it.

I wasn’t going to run track, but I figured the more time I could spend with Colt the better, so I went out. I had a pretty good freshman track campaign and found that I enjoy running a lot. That fall, Colt was unable to play football because of his neck and asked me to do cross country with him. I decided that I would run cross country with him as well as play varsity soccer. That year, I only ran four races and took eighth at states, but if it weren’t for Colt I never would have started running at all.


PennTrackXC - Who has influenced you the most in your life and what have they meant to you and your success thus far in your career?

The person who has influenced me the most is definitely Colt Young. Colt, like I said earlier, broke his neck during wrestling. Colt was told he may never compete in sports again, let alone walk again. This was news that could crush some people into never trying anything again. Not Colt. Colt worked hard every single day to re-learn how to walk and gain all his strength back that he lost. I never once saw Colt down on his luck or discouraged through the whole process. Colt kept the same good attitude and hope that he would once again compete in high school through everything. Never have I seen someone who had just lost so much so happy and so focused on getting back to what he loved. Colt and his life will inspire me when I feel down or feel like giving up to keep pushing on and keep giving it everything I have. Also, he has inspired me to give my all in every aspect of life because you never know when you could have it ripped away from you. Colt is a living testimony to the fact that life will knock you down, but it’s your job to get back up and keep fighting back, and no one fought back harder than Colt did. I feel grateful for just being able to know Colt. He has truly changed my life and has inspired me to chase my dreams with all I have. If it weren’t for Colt, I wouldn’t be where I am today.


PennTrackXC - What are your keys to success when it comes to your training program?

My keys to success training wise this year is to keep it the same as last year. Last year's cross country training program worked really well and I believe it will again this year. It involves a lot of long intervals workouts on grass, and some longer tempo runs. I think that it really kept me fresh and ready to race all season long, so I don’t want to change to much this season.


PennTrackXC - What is your most memorable cross country performance thus far in your career?

My most memorable cross country performance thus far in my career was my run at the Nike Northeast Regional. I had a good start to the race by getting up front with the leaders and staying there. I was in the top five until about a mile to go when I started losing ground, I slid back to 15th place overall. With a 1000m to go I had moved up to 11th, but unless I kicked it in from that point, I wasn’t going to qualify for nationals. So I gave it everything I had and passed a few more kids to get into 6th place with 200m to go, and that’s where I would finish. It was good enough to qualify as the 4th individual, so I got to go to nationals which was a dream come true for me.


PennTrackXC - What is your greatest non-running experience in cross country so far and why?

My greatest non running experience in cross country so far was Nike Nationals. Getting to meet all of the pros that I see run in the Diamond League and at the Olympics was awesome. Guys like Galen Rupp, Centro, Andrew Wheating, Mo Farah, and Evan Jager. I even got a chest bump from Centro right before the race, it was just overall a really cool experience, something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

PennTrackXC - What are your goals for the 2014 cross country season?

My goals for this cross country season are very similar to last season. I want to be district 4 champ again, along with repeating at states as champ which is a rare and difficult task but I’m up for the challenge and hope to PR on the hilly state course. Lastly I’d like to run even better at Nike regionals and place higher while once again qualifying for NXN.


What is your...

Favorite Social Media Hangout: Twitter (@GriffMo9)

Pre-race ritual/superstition: Breakfast at Dolly’s Diner in Williamsport. I always get the same thing (one pancake and two scrambled eggs), it’s gotten to a point the waiters don’t ask me what I want they just order it for me when I walk in.

Favorite cheat food:  Ice Cream, it’s a must have like every night.

Favorite pro athlete: Evan Jager, he was by far the coolest pro athlete I met at NXN and overall I just think he’s a really cool guy.

Must-Have running accessory:  The Nike+ gps watch, I couldn’t imagine running without it.

Long run jam: This is hard for me because it depends on the day. It could be anywhere from Volcano Choir and Two Door Cinema Club to the Weeknd and Kid Cudi.

Favorite workout: Mile repeats with decreasing pace.