Eric Fleming Feature

"Last year I missed a state qualifying slot by one spot. 
I hated the feeling... so I set a goal to win the District 1 mile. 
I lifted. I trained hard. I played soccer. That's about it."
- Eric Fleming, junior, Bishop Shanahan, 
just after getting a 3-second PR of 4:16.71 to win the District 1 mile 5/18 @ Coatesville, which was only a few hours after getting a 15-second PR of 9:16.58 in the 3200.


PennTrackXC caught up with Eric Fleming after his 9:16, 4:16 day at the District One Championships meet and asked the obvious question:

So where did you come from?
"Last year I missed it by a slot, last year's district qualifying, so then from right there I hated that feeling, so I said, next year I'm setting a goal and I'm gonna win the district mile. All through the summer I trained really hard with my track team (West Chester Track Club) and then during the fall I played soccer, but I also trained on the side. In the winter I lifted a lot and then in the spring, the beginning of the season I set my goals, and that's about it."

Have you gotten your goals yet? 
"Yeah pretty much all I want now is a state medal."

What will you run at States?
"I don’t know, same play. My coach and I are leaning toward the mile because that's my specialty ever since I began running track. As soon as I started running in 7th grade I said I was going to do the mile. I just developed that pretty good. And then during my freshman year in high school they said you're running a 3200, so I said all right. whatever, and I just went for it. I like the mile a lot more than the 3200, and I think that's what I'm leaning towards."

Tell me about your race (1600) today.
"My coach told me that in order to win the race I would have to come off big in the first lap and not rest until the race was over. Then everyone was screaming on that back stretch the fourth lap that someone's (Council Rock's Mike DiDio) coming up on me. I felt him there and I saw him coming by. But during that corner I said I'm not taking this and I just kicked it in the best I could."

What kind of quarter speed do you have?
"I can run the quarter in 56. Yeah, I had it in me, that I could do it. I don't know what I did but I ran my kinda race."

Are you thinking of switching from soccer to Cross Country next season?
"Not so sure yet. I have to talk it over with my parents. We're (Bishop Shanahan) going to be good, but Great Valley is just so deep next year. We'll see."

What's your strategy for racing Sam Bair.
"Last time I saw Sam, he had a 4:09 so I think I'm going to try and go after him the best I can. He's a great runner, so I'm just going to try and keep up with him."

Short feature on Fleming in the Philadelphia Inquirer 5/21/02 

District 1 1600: 4:16.71 (PR by 3 seconds)

Eric Fleming decided to push the pace from the start. He's pursued by Council Rock's Mike DiDio and Coatesville's Rob Robertson.


DiDio passed Fleming on the backstretch of the final lap, but Fleming kept contact and with 50 meters to go, soared past to set a second PR for the day.



District 1 3200: 9:16.58 (PR by 15 seconds)

Eric Fleming (in 2nd), Mark Mullelly (in 3rd) and Rob Robertson (in 4th) were content to let others lead early in the 3200.


Robertson covered every move, including this one by Fleming and Hatboro's Mike Kenny.


Mullelly and Council Rock's Rob Hampson join the lead pack as it starts to thin a bit.


At the bell, Robertson makes his move, and despite a kick from Fleming, runs the second fastest PA 3200 of the year, a 9:14.54.