The men’s cross country team took home second place this weekend at the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle. Leading the way for the Blue Jays was Jared Pangallozzi, who finished only two seconds behind the first-place runner. He has finished as one of the top-two Hopkins runners in every race this year.
Pangallozzi is coming off an incredible sophomore year where he earned a spot on the All-Centennial Conference First Team, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Mid-East All-Region Team, and the USTFCCCA All-American Team after solid performances in seven races. The year prior, he was awarded Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year and was placed on the All-Centennial Second Team.
Now in his junior year, Pangallozzi has been a leader both on and off the track. After finishing in fourth place at the Centennial Conference Championships last year, he is still looking to improve on that incredible performance.
The News-Letter spoke with Pangallozzi to discuss the season so far and what his goals are going forward.
The News-Letter: You had a great individual season last year, earning a spot on the All-Centennial Conference First Team. What have you been doing this season to build on last year’s successes?
Jared Pangallozzi: I’ve been progressing my mileage steadily throughout the summer and this season, and I’ve been adding a few things to my training schedule to improve form, running efficiency.... I think a big challenge for me this season is not getting carried away with how last season went and just making sure that I’m ramping up training at a reasonable pace to avoid burnout and injury.
N-L: At your race this past weekend, you got second place, helping the team secure second place at the event. How does it feel to lead your team and support them with your individual performance?
JP: I’m really happy with where my fitness is now, and it felt great to have everyone on our team just building off of each other throughout the entire race. We had a pretty close spread on Saturday with a lot of the guys running personal bests, which is a great sign for the championship part of the season.
N-L: Speaking of the championship, the Centennial Conference Championship is only a couple of weeks away. How are you preparing for that race? Is there anything you do differently to prepare for a big race like this?
JP: Training-wise, I’m cutting down my mileage over the next few weeks as we head into championship season. Aside from that, it’s important for us all to get excited and have fun racing during this part of the season — it takes so much pressure off from competition and makes it easier to race well.
N-L: This is your third year with the team. Has your role on the team changed over the years? Does your experience help you to be a better leader?
JP: It’s certainly a different dynamic to be an upperclassman interacting with the freshmen than it was as a sophomore. I think, generally, my responsibilities have increased naturally with each year that I’ve been here. There’s a lot of opportunity for each upperclassman to be a leader for the rest of the team, so I think that my leadership skills have developed through that. I definitely feel more confident about being a leader than I did when I first came to Hopkins, and I think a lot of that also comes from seeing teammates in the grades above me be excellent role models.
N-L: What’s it like to compete in a sport like cross country? Is it ever frustrating to put in effort for weeks only to have your placing decided by a 25- to 30-minute race?
JP: Well, putting it that way, sprinters on our track team must have it much worse off. All joking aside, I think that’s what makes racing so exciting: You only get a small shot at showing what you’re capable of. It’s always frustrating to have a bad race, but seeing all your months of training come together... when you set a new best is an amazing feeling, and it’s even better when you see your teammates doing the same.