Sean O’Flaherty came out for Cross Country his freshman year and has been with us ever since. If we gave out an award for ‘most likely to become a political analyst’ Sean would surely be the winner, as he often holds forth on current-event related topics during our recovery run (I always enjoy running with him, partially for this reason). Sean is also a dedicated team member who has put in thousands of miles with his teammates over the years in his quest to become a stronger, faster runner. He spoke to his teammates about his own journey from being unsure about whether he wanted to commit to Cross Country to being proud that he did.
Sean began his remarks by acknowledging that, being one of the last seniors to speak, his remarks would not be so much original as a reinforcement of messages his senior teammates had already conveyed. In particular, Sean wanted to further explore the theme that fun is fleeting, but the personal rewards of running cross country are long lasting He remembered how he joined Cross Country freshman year thinking he would simply use the fall season to train for track, where he intended to be a sprinter. However, after some success in early season races, Sean was moved up to one of the top three training groups and had higher expectations placed upon him. At first, he was scared, and even asked to remain with the lower groups. However, Coach Snee, who was in charge of those groups at that time, talked him into moving up. Reluctantly, Sean began a harder training regiment. Though the payoff was not immediate, it did come. By track season, he had decided to remain a distance runner, and saw his 1600 PR drop from 5:50 to 5:01. He also broke 11:00 for the 3200, a mark achieved by only a handful of freshman each year. In conclusion, Sean asked any freshman who felt discouraged at this point in the season to simply continue working hard – and having faith that the results will come.
Our final senior to speak was Alex Lambert. I did a brief search of the archives and discovered that by the end of his freshman year, Alex’s best 1600 was 5:41, and his best 3200 was 12:02. By the end of his junior track season, he’d dropped those times to 4:55 and 10:56. This is not surprising once you look at his running logs – he has been extremely consistent and hard working. He did ‘polar bear running club’ in the winter every year, committed in the summer, and this year is on pace to join the 1000 mile club. He’s lost all his baby fat and looks, now, like a true runner – fit and strong. He has positioned himself to have an excellent senior season.
Alex began by telling all gathered, “call me ‘Lammie.'” Introductions thus made, he went on to his speech, hearkening back to his freshman year. He thought about what he wanted to hear from seniors three years ago, and decided that he would have wanted them to speak to him about possibility – about how more is possible when you are in 9th grade that you might realize (here, in a hilarious interlude, Alex quixotically remarked, ‘with a popsicle, anything is possible’ and first Stefan Rosas, than Joe Griffin, emerged from the audience to give him a dollar…)
Alex also discussed mileage. He told freshman that over time, they will become faster, and they will become capable of running higher mileage (his first 3200 time trial result was 16:00 – he’ll be chasing low 10:00 this year). As Alex is in the process of applying for college, he’s been thinking about what to write for his college essay and considering how he might stand out from the masses of other seniors he is competing against. So he looked through his running logs. He estimates that since he entered high school, he has run about 5445 miles, enough to run from New York City to Los Angelos and back. Truly, how many student across America can say the same?