CUMBERLAND ‚ÄĒ There once was a time when Trevor Crawley wanted to follow his own plan ‚Äď and, of course, his coaches ‚Äď but not so much his dad‚Äôs.
Mike Crawley, a 1981 Shea High graduate who earned All-State second-team laurels in outdoor track and later represented both the Community College of Rhode Island and Southern Connecticut State University, apparently had tried to offer some advice as to the nuances of distance running, but it was a ‚Äúno-go.
‚ÄúHe never listened to me much,‚ÄĚ the elder Crawley laughed as his son, a stellar Cumberland High senior harrier, finished up a training run at and around the school on Tuesday afternoon. ‚ÄúFor some reason, he has a little bit more this year.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôd ask me what to run in practice, what pace he should keep, when he should do some interval training and his rest time,‚ÄĚ he added. ‚ÄúI used to try to tell him, but he wouldn‚Äôt listen.‚ÄĚ
Ask veteran head coach Tom Kenwood what makes the younger Crawley so special ‚Äď on Saturday, Dec. 8, he will be one of 40 premier athletes at the Foot Locker National Interscholastic Cross-Country Championships at Balboa Park in San Diego ‚Äď and he chuckles.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs got great genes,‚ÄĚ Kenwood noted. ‚ÄúHis father was a great distance runner, and his aunt (Marybeth Crawley) was an All-American (in cross-country) at Cortland State (N.Y.) University. With two people like that to talk to, they‚Äôre great role models. He can go to either one for advice. I think he‚Äôs listened to Mike more this year.‚ÄĚ
Trevor explained he had reason to solicit more knowledge from his father this fall.
‚ÄúI wanted to do better,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs coached some really good athletes, and he‚Äôs a runner himself, so he knows what he‚Äôs talking about. When I was younger, I guess I didn‚Äôt care as much at how well I did.
‚ÄúWith this being my senior year, I knew this would be my last go-around. I just wanted to be faster.‚ÄĚ
Crawley certainly has been. At the R.I. Interscholastic Cross-Country Championships in early November, he captured the state crown, hustling the 3.1-mile distance at Ponaganset High in 15:39. A week later, at the New England meet in Cumberland, Me., he took second overall, covering the 3.1-mile trail in 16:12.
The only one region-wide to defeat him? Henry Wynne of Staples (Conn.) High.
Then, last weekend, he traveled to the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx, N.Y., and placed sixth overall with a 3.1-mile time of 15:47.
Crawley closed that race as the second-best New Englander, as Eddie Cheserek of St. John‚Äôs Prep in Danvers, Mass. finished in 15:22.
‚ÄúHe was only 11 seconds out of second place last week,‚ÄĚ Kenwood noted. ‚ÄúThe thing about Trevor, he has one of the most efficient strides of almost anyone I‚Äôve ever coached. There‚Äôs something else just as key: He‚Äôs a front-runner, and he just knows what to do and when.
‚ÄúEven when he was a freshman, I‚Äôd be on the side (during a race) telling him what to do, and he‚Äôd do it immediately. Later on that season, even before I could say, ‚ÄėTrevor, go!‚Äô he had already done it. He was gone. He has that instinct.‚ÄĚ
One of the primary reasons for the young Crawley‚Äôs success this season has stemmed from the fact Kenwood chose not to race him in a few dual meets. Trevor had suffered from Osgood-Schlatter Disease early in his high school career.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs when the bones grow faster than the ligaments, and it causes pain in the legs,‚ÄĚ Kenwood mentioned. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs on relatively low mileage than most high school kids; Mike and I agree that high school runners don‚Äôt need all that over-distance training. Because his mileage has been low, he hasn‚Äôt sustained any over-use injuries. He‚Äôs stayed fresh.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs going to get better in college, no question about it,‚ÄĚ he added. ‚ÄúThey run longer distances in both training and races; the mileage goes up.
‚ÄúWhen we had some of our dual meets, we chose not to have him compete; we wanted him to use those times as training days rather than racing days. We knew he‚Äôd get more out of a training run than competing.‚ÄĚ
Kenwood would love to make the trip to southern California but won‚Äôt, as this is the start of the indoor track season. He must use these days to train his Clippers for the next task at hand.
In addition, Cumberland will compete in an Injury Fund meet at the Providence Career & Technical High School field house in Providence the Thursday before the national event, so Kenwood naturally will attend that.
‚ÄúI thought it was a great time (for Trevor at the Northeast Regionals),‚ÄĚ Kenwood stated. ‚ÄúHe was the top Rhode Islander among kids from all over New England, plus New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. It was a very tough course, one of the toughest he‚Äôs raced on this season outside of the one in Maine. That day, it was very cold and rainy.
‚ÄúIn San Diego, it‚Äôs a flatter course, so his time should approach 15 minutes,‚ÄĚ he continued. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs going to be running against the top 40 high school kids around the country, so I think they‚Äôll pull him along. In fact, the national champion last year was in his race Saturday (at the regional meet), and that was Cheserek.‚ÄĚ
Crawley admitted he doesn‚Äôt know what to expect at the national event.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm definitely satisfied with sixth (at Van Cortlandt Park),‚ÄĚ Trevor said. ‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt really know where I was going to place, so I just ran the best I could. I‚Äôm going to go out there and try to do the same thing.
‚ÄúLast year, I was third at states and about 40th at the New Englands, but I didn‚Äôt qualify for the Northeast Regionals,‚ÄĚ he added. ‚ÄúThis is exciting; I‚Äôve never been to San Diego. I mean, only 40 kids from around the country have qualified for it, and I‚Äôm one of those 40, so I‚Äôm happy.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt have any specific goals in mind, but I‚Äôd love to make All-American,‚ÄĚ which means he‚Äôd have to finish among the top 21 in the U.S. ‚ÄúIf I did that, I‚Äôd be able to say I did something my dad and aunt ‚Äď at least in high school ‚Äď didn‚Äôt do.‚ÄĚ
He said he‚Äôd be thrilled with a sub-15 minute clocking..
‚ÄúI‚Äôve never done that before, so if I did, that would be amazing,‚ÄĚ he grinned. ‚ÄúBut I‚Äôm just going out there to do the best I possibly can.
‚ÄúThis has been a great season, very exciting. Nothing has really gone wrong. I think it‚Äôs helped that Coach held me out of a few early dual meets. I feel good. The past couple of years, I‚Äôd run in all of the meets and I‚Äôd feel more fatigued. Now, I feel nice and strong.‚ÄĚ