The Little Things . . .

a Going the Distance newsletter

Later Early December 2017 || issue #63
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Riley: "I consider myself a consistent and dedicated trainer, but there is no way I would do all the drills, stretching, hurdles, and core work on my own during the summer."

College XC

More than 25 college runners used the GTD xc conditioning program this past summer. While they all had summer training outlines from their college coaches, they wanted to take advantage of the GTD camp -- training with peers, focused and guided drills, and all the supplemental work (hurdles, bands, medicine balls) that camp provides.

Riley Dowd led his Stonehill team to a 16th place finish at the NCAA Div 2 finals, with Riley running 32:38 over the 10k course for a career-best 89th out of 249 runners. Two weeks earlier, on November 4, Stonehill won the Div 2 East Regional championship, with Riley placing 10th, running 33:55, and winning his 2nd All-Region award.

After winning All-American honors last spring in the 800, Sydney Packard returned to xc in the fall at WPI and had an outstanding season, leading her team to a program-best 10th finish at the NCAA Div 3 Championship on November 11. Sydney ran 21:55 over the 6k course, winning All-Region honors. On October 29th at the NEWMAC XC championship at Franklin Park, Sydney was 7th out of 143 finishers, in 18:43 over the 5k course. For the season, Sydney was a consistent and dominating runner in each race.

Some of the other GTD runners from the 2017 Braz Camp running in college were Marissa Farago (Franklin Pierce), Anthony Pizzo (Franklin Pierce), Olivia Horgan (George Washington), Anthony Maida (Wentworth), Sean Conlan (Stonehill), Emily Christensen (Lynn University), Tia Patterson (BC), Emily DeMarco (Boise State), Keegan Flynn (Plymouth State), Joey MacNeil (Emerson), Griffin Barriss (Elon), Mike Ricci (Worcester State), Alex Brovender (Bates), Abby Walsh (Syracuse), Shawn Carlson (URI), Travis Dawe (UMass/Amherst), Reed Dolan (Vassar), Philip Meneghini (UMass/Amherst), Michael Weidenbruch (American), and Peter Blake.

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Sydney Packard stretches well before joining the hurdle (hip flexibility) session.


Nadja Ueckert-LaPlante

GTD: Nadja, how many summers have you trained in Coach Braz’s program? What got you started doing it?
Nadja: I started training in Coach Braz's summer program, two years ago, as I was going into my sophomore year of high school. I started the summer camp after hearing a few girls on the cross country team, from the previous years, talk about how much they improved as runners, both mentally and physically.

GTD: Each of the 90 to 120 minute onsite conditioning sessions this past summer had phases, and each of the 18 sessions was a bit different. What drills did you look forward to? Were there ones you would like to forget about it?
Nadja: As challenging as hill workouts and tempo runs were, I never dreaded doing them because of how good I felt after pushing myself during the workout. I knew those tough workouts would be the way to get stronger as a runner. I particularly enjoyed finding a group of girls to run with; we shared a similar pace, we pushed each other and motivated one another to work harder. I found that to be really beneficial towards giving every workout my best effort. I also found it helpful to do different workouts each week and focusing on engaging different muscles in those specific drills.

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Nadja and Sydney Packard warming up at the start of a morning session at Braz Camp.

GTD: The last phase of each training session was devoted to core work, flexibility, and strength. Tell us about it. What did you like and didn’t like?
Nadja: I found the time devoted to core work, flexibility, and strength to be really crucial and an important part to every workout. I've noticed in my running, that core work and strength improved my form, as well as prevented many injuries. The flexibility drills really helped with loosening up my muscles after a tough run and resulted in less soreness and tired feeling legs for the next day of running.

GTD: When you’re doing the “running” parts of the program, do you ever “visualize” a xc race?
Nadja: I definitely found myself visualizing a cross country race in my head through the summer training camp. Specifically on hills and tempo runs, I would focus on my form and overcoming the struggles I would likely encounter during a real cross country race.

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Nadja and Kate DelTorchio in the final week of Braz Camp, when the Edge earned from an intense summer is ready to be applied to their xc season ahead.

GTD: When you race, do you have routines that you always do to prepare, leading right up to the start?
Nadja: Yes, I like to do the same things leading up to a race. On the day of a meet, I always eat an English muffin and throughout the day I eat a lot of small snacks, mostly fruits, granola bars or nuts. I found that having a strict meal plan on the day of a meet helps me feel refreshed and ready to run. On the way to a meet, I usually listen to music or take a nap. I try to keep my mind off the actual race because I tend to make myself really nervous and anxious. During warm up, I like to really focus on positive thoughts and a strategy for running my best.

GTD: Tell us about your fall xc season.
Nadja: My race season went really well. Over the summer, I improved my form and physical and mental capabilities as a runner and it has shown in my races. I got stronger and learned to push myself to the point where I run my best. Throughout my cross country season, I was able to apply the skills I learned from Summer camp, as well as continued to work on form and end-of-race performance, by weekly hill workouts and speed workouts on the track. As a result, I felt stronger throughout the whole race and was able to shed seconds off my average mile pace by the end of the season.

All of the training I did during the summer, prepared me for the tough races throughout the season and I was able to perform my best at the end of the season during the big races against the top competitors in the state.

During the winter and the spring seasons, I plan on continuing with distance events, I want to run the two mile and improve on my times from last year.

[Nadja is a Junior at Ipswich High School. At the Division 6 xc meet in Wrentham on November 11, she was 7th in 20:37. A week later at the All-State meet in Wrentham she took 10 seconds off her time, finishing in 20:27.]


Central Catholic Girls Win

by Colette Madore

The Central Catholic Girls Cross Country Team had a "banner" season! Not only did we become Merrimack Valley Division 1 Champions, but it's the first time since 1999. Our xc banner in the gym will soon have a 2017 on it and we are so very proud! This is the legacy of our 2017 team and our story is one of hard work, determination, and sheer grit. Our seniors, whom I met 4 years ago, have been working for this and we made it our fall team goal.

This success does not come without hard work in season, but it all begins in the summer. This past summer at GTD XC Edge, Central had the largest group of athletes in the past few years take part in this great program. Not only did the girls commit to 3 mornings a week of hard core physical and mental training, but they also bonded and created a competitive varsity pack, which included several freshman. Establishing a summer base of strength allowed us to work on speed earlier in the season. Our strength the past few years has been depth, not necessarily one stand out runner. This depth means that we rely on all 7-12 varsity athletes to perform as a team running with purpose. Many of these varsity athletes participated in GTD Edge this past summer. It's especially sweet when the girls recognize that XC Edge helped prepare them for in season success!

Our best and favorite moment was the day we clinched the Merrimack Valley Conference title and celebrated sweet success! As a coach, you cannot ask for a more proud moment or happier memory for your athletes. I love GTD Edge and my girls do too! Several seniors, who will run at the collegiate level, are already talking about Edge 2018!

D2 State Meet
Montgomery 19:53 (senior)
Seamans 20:15 (soph)
Dankert 20:42 (senior)
Angluin 20:43 (frosh)
Connolly 20:50 (senior)
Nault 21:46 (junior)
McDowell 21:46 (senior)

[Colette Madore has been Head Coach of the girls xc team at Central for over 10 seasons. She also is the Central indoor and outdoor track distance coach, and a lead coach in the Braz Camp XC Edge summer program in Peabody. Coach Madore teaches in the World Languages department at Central Catholic High School.
15 of Coach Madore's runners worked hard this past summer in the GTD XC Edge program directed by Coach Fred Doyle in our Merrimack Valley location at the Greater Lawrence Technical School.

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High School XC Divisional Meets

The Massachusetts Divisional meets were held November 11 on Wrentham's 5k xc course. There were many great performances from runners who spent many of their summer mornings in the GTD xc conditioning program.

Kellen Waters won the Division 6 title in 16:39. Shane Braz's 16:14 was the fastest time of the day. Shane finished 13th in the Division 1 race. Next fastest was Joey Forest's 16:21, good for #5 in Division 3. Sean Kay ran 16:28 to finish 6th in the Division 5. Next fastest times were Will Aylward and Marc Alperen in 16:38.

Top time for the girls was Kathryn Montgomery's 19:53, followed by Kelsey Seamens in 20:15, both in the Division 2 race. Caroline Johnson ran 20:17 in Division 3. In the Division 6 race, GTD runners captured places 6-8 -- Grace Sousa in 20:36, Nadja Ueckert-LaPlante in 20:37, and Kate DelTorchio in 20:40. Back in the Division 2 race, Lily Angluin ran 20:43. Lily, Grace Sousa, and Caroline Johnson are frosh.

Boys Division 1

Shane Braz 16:14, William Aylward 16:38, Marc Alperen 16:38, Jacob Farhat 17:53, Ryan Buchanan 17:54

Boys Division 2

Jack Conrad 18:00

Boys Division 3

Joey Forest 16:21, Patrick Carleton 16:50, Patrick Brown 17:4, Ethan Snook 18:03, Jarrod Wardwell 19:37, Ian Brito 20:13, Noah Carlson 20:16, Derek Blanchard 20:22

Boys Division 4

Billy Beauregard 17:47

Boys Division 5

Sean Kay 16:28, Matt Botehlo 20:36

Boys Division 6

Kellen Waters 16:39, Jack DeMarco 17:40, Zach Mizioch 17:52, Aiden Hill 17:56, Paul Sousa 18:17, Charlie Mullen 18:19, Jack Keenan 18:34, Wyatt Burr 18:50, Zachery Forni 19:25

Girls Division 1

Lilly Brennan 21:16, Sarah Enes 21:27, Victoria Lombardi 22:01, Isabella Ricciardi 23:19, Shannon O'Connell 23:23

Girls Division 2

Kathryn Montgomery 19:53, Kelsey Seamans 20:15, Lily Angluin 20:43, Janessa Nault 21:46

Girls Division 3

Caroline Johnson 20:17

Girls Division 4

Elizabeth Gacek 21:15, Leah Rudolph 21:18

Girls Division 6

Grace Sousa 20:36, Nadja Ueckert-LaPlante 20:37, Kate DelTorchio 20:40, Joy Wambui 21:14, Katie Loehle 22:20, Jesse Harrington 22:27, Brie Passatempo 23:24, Ann Olsen 23:43, Lillie Mullen 24:42

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High School XC All-State Meet

The XC All-State meet was held November 18, a week after the Divisionals, and on the same 5K Wrentham course. It's a challenge to run the All-State meet. Some teams qualify due to their placement in the previous week's Divisional meet And there are spots for individual runners who placed high enough in the Divisional meet but were on teams that did not qualify for All-States.

For the runners, it has been a long season, which may have begun in early July with a XC conditioning program (Braz Camp). During the span of almost 5 months, from starting to train to competing in the All-State meet, other life events were happening -- school started, xc meets were run, and for many student-athletes, college plans became a major focus in their senior (and often junior) high school years.

So, for all the runners who made it to States, congratulations. You may have had some luck in qualifying with your team. You may have had some fast-twitch muscles to qualify as an individual. Either way, you had the courage to get out on the Wrentham course one more (or one last) time. You've earned a lifetime memory.

Boys Division 1

Shane Braz 16:36, Joey Forest 16:45, Patrick Carleton 17:03

Boys Division 2

Kellen Waters 16:20, Sean Kay 16:20, Aiden Hill 17:37, Zach Mizioch 17:59, Charlie Mullen 18:18, Jack DeMarco 18:41, Paul Sousa 18:44, Jack Keenan 18:57, Wyatt Burr 19:13, Spencer Mullen 19:55

Girls Division 1

Kathryn Montgomery 20:35

Girls Division 2

Nadja Ueckert-LaPlante 20:27, Grace Sousa 20:33, Kate DelTorchio 20:42, Joy Wambui 21:30, Jessie Harrington 22:53


More XC Results

At the NEC Middle School XC Championships at Brooks Farm (Peabody) on November 1, Olivia King was 8th in 11:22 (6:56 pace). Alice Michigan ran 13:07, Emily Ernst 13:46, and Isabella Verrico 14:06.

In the Freshman race at the Catholic Conference Cross Country Championships on October 25 at Franklin Park on the 1.8 mile loop,George Nikolakopoulos (10:48) and Patrick Hosman (10:48) finished 1-2.


Personal Coaching with Coach Braz

Coach Braz provides personal, one-on-one coaching for runners at all levels who want to improve their performance or want a guided maintenance program.

If you are running a spring marathon -- for example, Boston -- you should begin your training now.

Registration Form

The program is designed for runners who have a specific racing goal, or a series of races to prepare for, or want to build or maintain their running fitness. Your personal program may include a weekly track session that may be done at a site convenient to you or with Coach Braz on Tuesday evenings at the Beverly High School track.

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Previous Issues of The Little Things

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