MileSplit Fast Four: A weekly glimpse at four of our nation's best
Each week here at MileSplit we will be giving you a quick look at four of the nation's best runners in our new feature called MileSplit Fast Four. Featured this week are Sarah Andrews (TX), Chris Schwartz (CA), Melanie Thompson (NJ) and Andrew Colley (VA).
Jr., The Woodlands H.S. (MileSplit US #8)
The Woodlands, TX
Highlights: This season Andrews (MS #3 South) has raced to invitational wins at the Friday Night Lights Invitational, Montgomery Moonlight Madness, Woodbridge (CA) Invitational (3.0 miles), where she ran 16:12, and the Nike South Classic (course record 17:07) … Rebounded from a fall and disappointing 18th place finish at the 2007 Texas State Cross Country meet, going undefeated on the track at 3200 meters last spring, including a state title … Has helped The Woodlands to three consecutive district cross country titles … Comes from a family of athletes, her sister Hilary runs for Baylor (Andrews pictured right in photo by Alex Aldaco)
Coach (Noel Hansen) says: “She really enjoys running. She enjoys the process of training. She doesn’t mind putting in the time to do all the little things you have to do to be a great runner. She’s very disciplined. You know how a lot of kids, they want to win, they like the adulation, I think she actually enjoys running.”
Andrews says: “I love [running]. It’s an awesome sport and I’ve been blessed this past season with being healthy and with such a supportive family. I love the people that are involved in cross country. You meet so many people, other athletes that love to run. I think it’s just a satisfying sport.”
Summer mileage (max): 50
Weekly mileage: 40
Training shoes: Asics 2130
Race day superstitions: “Nothing crazy.”
Favorite movie: Remember the Titans
Sr., Foothill-Bakersfield H.S.
Highlights: A 2007 Foot Locker finalist, Schwartz (MS #1 West) recently ran a season-best 15:09 to win the Clovis Invitational … Also won the Foothill-Bakersfield meet … Perhaps his best performance of his entire junior season came at the California State T&F Championships, where Schwartz (pictured left in a photo by Margot Kelly) became the first and only junior to break nine minutes in a 3200m race, his 8:58.50 effort was second only to national record holder German Fernandez.
Coach (Arron Rietz) says: “He’s by far the most talented kid I ever coached. He’s the hardest worker. He won’t ever quit. I think his main strength is his determination. He doesn’t want to quit. He doesn’t want to lose. He knows how to run a race. He knows when to take the lead, he knows when to hold back, especially on the courses he knows. He’s got a game plan every race he goes into. He’s always had the talent, now he knows how to run a race other than just going out there and running all out.”
Schwartz says: “I just like to run. I want to be one of the best.”
Summer mileage (max): 50
Weekly mileage: 25
Training shoes: adidas or New Balance
Race day superstitions: None
Favorite school subject: Math
Sr., Voorhees H.S.
Glen Gardner, NJ
Highlights: Once a star point guard, Thompson (MS #5 East) gave up basketball her junior year to concentrate on running … One of the top runners in New Jersey, Thompson (pictured right in photo by Pat Montferrat) has individual wins this year at the Bowdoin Park Classic (18:23), Shore Coaches Invitational (18:14) and Manhattan College Invitational Eastern States race (14:12) … Ran a PR of 4:50.68 in the Mile at the 2007 Nike Outdoor Nationals, placing third.
Coach (Justina Cassavelle) says: “I think now she realizes she can go into most races and go for the win. She’s a great competitor. Tactically, she runs really smart races. She isn’t one to really push the pace early on and try to run away from the field. She’s just a great competitor. She thrives on the competition.”
Thompson says: “If I wanted to be with the top girls I needed to be more serious about running and run year round… I just think it’s a satisfaction that no other sport can beat. How people talk about the runners’ high, you can’t get that in any other sport. Running is my passion. As much as I love basketball, basketball isn’t my passion, running is.”
Weekly mileage: 38
Summer mileage (Max): 45 miles
Training shoes: Asics Kayano
Race day superstitions: Wears the same socks every race. Prays. Listens to Christian music.
Favorite athlete: Ryan Hall
Sr., Jamestown H.S. (MileSplit US #11)
Highlights: Colley (MS #7 South) finished second to Joe Rosa at Manhattan College Invitational Eastern States race (12:20)… First place at Lee-Davis Invitational (15:55) … First place at William and Mary Invitational (14:47) … Second place at McDonald’s X-C Festival at Maymont (15:42).
Coach (Howard Townsend) says: “I’m very fortunate to be able to coach an athlete of his caliber and integrity. As tough as an athlete as he is, I would be remiss by not mentioning just the type of person he is. He gets the job done in the classroom as well as on the athletic fields. What really makes him so dangerous as an athlete is he won’t ever quit. There’s something that fuels him. There’s something when he’s really in a stressful situation - a tough workout or a race – there’s an intensity there that, sitting down talking to him that, you wouldn’t expect to come out of someone so low-keyed.”
Colley says: “When someone is right next to me or someone is in front of me, for some reason I get really competitive. I get a surge of energy out of my competitiveness. I really like the tactics of racing. I enjoy it a lot. When I go out there, I try my best to win every time, even if it doesn’t always go that way. I’ve been putting in a lot of work and I want it really bad.”
Summer mileage (max): 65
Weekely mileage: 50-55
Training shoes: addidas Supernova Cushion
Race day superstitions: Colley (pictured above in photo by Don Rich) carries an old cross country race tee-shirt from freshman year with him in his bag to every race.
Favorite running quote: “You’re too small Pre. You’re not fast enough Pre. Give up your foolish dreams Steve. They forgot something, I have to win.” – Prefontaine.