Running as one of the top runners in his state of Connecticut and one of the top runners and senior captain of his Danbury squad, Matt Terry is the perfect picture of what a team leader should be. We talked with Terry about his team's fall campaign, what his goals are for this track season, and a few other tidbits to learn more about this great leader.
The MileSplit Interview: Danbury's Matt Terry
MileSplit (MS): Your team, Danbury, had one heck of a cross country season. You finished fifth as a team at Nike Team Nationals, while you finished fifteenth overall. Looking back on your cross country season, what was that like? What did you enjoy most about your senior cross country season?
Matt Terry (MT): This cross country season compliments last year very well. I think that people are starting to see the name Danbury at track meets and thinking of our team as a national level team. I would like for our underclassmen to live up our legacy and continue doing well so maybe we can become a York type team. This year was very exciting; we went into most races as the top dog and our guys handled that pressure well.
What I enjoyed most about this season is just seeing how far our team has come in four years. Four years ago we didn't make our State Open as a team, and from my freshman to senior year we go from not making the State Open to being fifth at Nike Team Nationals. It's a great feeling to come such a long way.
MS: The track and field season is really starting to heat up, especially in the Northeast. What are your goals for your final track season?
MT: Our team really focuses on outdoor track. We use indoor kind of as our base season to run fast times in outdoor because it's too hard to peak twice in about a 20-24 week period. My main goal for indoor is to compete well in the 5k at NSIC and possibly contribute to one of our many relays. But my major goal this outdoor season is to run sub-8:50 in the two mile. Of course along the way I have other sub-goals for races, but accomplishing my sub-8:50 is all I am really working toward now.
MS: You and your teammates had a great showing at Nike Outdoor Nationals last year. What are the team goals heading into this spring?
MT: As a team we are looking to drop big marks in the major distance relays and possibly go after some national records. It is hard to try and go after all three at nationals (4x8, DMR, 4xmile) since we have a group of about 5-6 guys, but all with there different goals to think about too. So along the way to nationals I think you will see fast times, although we won't run all at nationals.
MS: You and fellow senior Willie Ahearn seem to be very compatible training partners. What has it been like working together with Willie and the other seniors on your team the past four years while accomplishing so much?
MT: Willie and I work really well together. It is great to have someone else on your team to do workouts with on such a high level. We started training together after the freshman cross country season and really have been working together ever since. I find him doing less mileage then me week to week, but all our workouts are done together and it's a great deal. The group of guys on our team in unbelievable. We all strive for the highest goals for ourselves. I couldn't see myself competing on a better team than the one I am on now.
MS: The Danbury distance squad seems to be one of the hardest working squads out there. What type of mileage do you guys do and what is your favorite workout?
MT: I can tell you one thing, Rob [Danbury's coach] makes sure that by the end of our workout it's not too easy. Weekly mileage I would say we are pretty moderate as a team doing around 60 miles a week. But this outdoor season I will be reaching mileage of about 80-90 for a few weeks here and there.
My favorite type of workout is definitely threshold. We do a bunch of different modified threshold workouts that all consist of about 5-7 miles. My favorite out of all of them would have to be 5x1 mile, starting at around 5:10 and getting down to around 5:00 with 60 seconds rest in between.
MS: Many seniors are starting to make their college decisions. Have you made a verbal commitment yet?
MT: Nope, I haven't committed anywhere yet, but come back to me in a little under a month and I will know for sure. I am looking at about five colleges that are in the mix right now. I would love to go to anyone of them; it just matters where I fit the best.
MS: It seems like you are a very experienced runner. How did you first get in to running?
MT: Well I first got in to running in sixth grade. We had somewhat of a cross country program at my middle school. I ran and played soccer. It was something I thought I was good at so I just got one of my friends Ricky and we went out for cross country. Well I started doing it and I loved it. But in seventh and eighth grade I didn't run because my school dropped the program because we weren't getting enough people out for the team. I still continued to do little road races and what not, and came into high school with a blistering 5k PR of 19:20.
MS: What do you like to do in your free time when you aren't running or studying?
MT: Well most of what I do revolves around running, be it looking up different races I can run in to try and get some fast times in or whether it's just hanging out with the team. The guys used to get on Willie and my case a lot though since we didn't have our driver's license. I just recently got mine after being 17 for a month or two, but I still get chauffeured around by Fred quite a bit. And Willie is still yet to get his license. But most of what I do revolves around running and it's something I love, so I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
MS: Thanks Matt for a great interview and best of luck this season!