Costonis closed out a strong career for the Explorers showing some good versatility in the sprints and distance events. He was the 400 meter leg on LaSalle's indoor state championship-winning distance medley relay from this past indoor season. Most recently, he was apart of LaSalle's 4x800 meter relay that took fourth in Class AAA at the 2019 outdoor state meet.
He posted individual open PRs of 50.30 in the 400 and 1:59.52 in the 800.
Costonis, bound for Villanova in the fall, reflected on his career for PennTrackXC.
What was your most memorable race/competition?
The most memorable race I've had the opportunity to be a part of was at the 2019 Indoor State Championships where our DMR won its third title in school history. Winning that race was a surreal feeling and one that my fellow teammates and I will never forget. This race is special to me because not only were we able to continue LaSalle's legacy of success in this event, but winning it with my teammates who have worked so hard to achieve this goal together made the journey all worth it.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
In my sophomore year, I was the 800 leg of our DMR at the 2017 State meet. Seeing runners like Nick Dahl, the Affolder brothers, and Nick Feffer in the paddock had me a bit starstruck to be honest. Knowing I had runners like Brendan Price and Evan Addison on my side, I was able to reel it back in and run my race for the team.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
My proudest high school accomplishment was placing 4th in the 4x800 relay at the 2019 Outdoor State Championships. I ran the leadoff leg, which was one of the more nerve-wracking roles I've had to take on for our team, especially after having struggled with the first leg in my junior year. Luckily, I was able to have strong races in both the prelims and finals to put our team in a position to stay up front and in contention.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
Although I'm glad that things worked out the way they did, I would have probably started to train with the sprinters earlier in my track career. This year was my first training as more of a 400 runner, as previously I had run cross country and trained mostly with the distance runners on the team. As I began to focus more on developing my speed, I experienced major improvements as a 400/800 runner.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
After my freshman year, I suffered a stress fracture in my back as a result of a combination of core/hip weakness and overtraining. Physical therapy lasted for two months and I was able to get back to running relatively quickly, however I did not properly rebuild the strength I needed to prevent future injury. In my sophomore year, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture with a month left to go in the indoor season. After finishing up my race at states, I had to take all of outdoors off and work towards being healthy for my junior year. Unfortunately, I was plagued by shin splits towards the latter part of the year and couldn't put together a fully healthy season. Luckily, I was able to enjoy my senior year injury free after a lot of rest and PT, so it was all worth it in the end.
What will you miss the most?
The camaraderie and brotherhood I've formed with my teammates is something I'm going to miss dearly. Our team dynamic of working hard while also having a good team is something unique to us, and I'm going to cherish all the memories from Vince and Brady cracking ridiculous jokes during the push-up plank set to being pushed to the brink during workouts and having my teammates cheering me on to get through.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Stretch, stretch, stretch! Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of training, stretching is essential for helping runners to recuperate and maintain their fitness. It's easy for many runners, myself included, to blow it off as a secondary aspect of running, but once I started to take my stretching routine seriously, I saw a drastic improvement in not only my performance, but even in just how I felt on a day to day basis.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
Both Coach Bielecki and Coach Maderia taught me the importance of process-oriented running and staying committed to a goal larger than a PR or place. Focusing on the things I can control and running with a sense of purpose were concepts that were hammered home as a member of the LaSalle program, and they personally forced me to rethink the way I thought about running. It's not merely a game of strategy with the end goal of hitting a certain time or achieving a spot on the podium.
What are your post-high school plans?
I will be attending Villanova University in the fall to study business! I'm also hoping to walk on to the track team as a member of the sprints group.
Huge shoutout to Coach B, Coach Maderia, and the boys of LSXC. Above all, shoutout to my mom and dad who not only handled the sky-high piles of my medical bills, but who supported me every step of the way during my high school career and beyond.