CUMBERLAND ā There once was a time when Trevor Crawley wanted to follow his own plan ā and, of course, his coaches ā but not so much his dadās.
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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 āno-go.
āHe never listened to me much,ā 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. āFor some reason, he has a little bit more this year.
āHeād ask me what to run in practice, what pace he should keep, when he should do some interval training and his rest time,ā he added. āI used to try to tell him, but he wouldnāt listen.ā
Ask veteran head coach Tom Kenwood what makes the younger Crawley so special ā 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 ā and he chuckles.
āHeās got great genes,ā Kenwood noted. āHis 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, theyāre great role models. He can go to either one for advice. I think heās listened to Mike more this year.ā
Trevor explained he had reason to solicit more knowledge from his father this fall.
āI wanted to do better,ā he said. āHeās coached some really good athletes, and heās a runner himself, so he knows what heās talking about. When I was younger, I guess I didnāt care as much at how well I did.
āWith this being my senior year, I knew this would be my last go-around. I just wanted to be faster.ā
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. Johnās Prep in Danvers, Mass. finished in 15:22.
āHe was only 11 seconds out of second place last week,ā Kenwood noted. āThe thing about Trevor, he has one of the most efficient strides of almost anyone Iāve ever coached. Thereās something else just as key: Heās a front-runner, and he just knows what to do and when.
āEven when he was a freshman, Iād be on the side (during a race) telling him what to do, and heād do it immediately. Later on that season, even before I could say, āTrevor, go!ā he had already done it. He was gone. He has that instinct.ā
One of the primary reasons for the young Crawleyās 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.
āThatās when the bones grow faster than the ligaments, and it causes pain in the legs,ā Kenwood mentioned. āHeās on relatively low mileage than most high school kids; Mike and I agree that high school runners donāt need all that over-distance training. Because his mileage has been low, he hasnāt sustained any over-use injuries. Heās stayed fresh.
āHeās going to get better in college, no question about it,ā he added. āThey run longer distances in both training and races; the mileage goes up.
āWhen 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 heād get more out of a training run than competing.ā
Kenwood would love to make the trip to southern California but wonāt, 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.
āI thought it was a great time (for Trevor at the Northeast Regionals),ā Kenwood stated. āHe 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 heās raced on this season outside of the one in Maine. That day, it was very cold and rainy.
āIn San Diego, itās a flatter course, so his time should approach 15 minutes,ā he continued. āHeās going to be running against the top 40 high school kids around the country, so I think theyāll pull him along. In fact, the national champion last year was in his race Saturday (at the regional meet), and that was Cheserek.ā
Crawley admitted he doesnāt know what to expect at the national event.
āIām definitely satisfied with sixth (at Van Cortlandt Park),ā Trevor said. āI didnāt really know where I was going to place, so I just ran the best I could. Iām going to go out there and try to do the same thing.
āLast year, I was third at states and about 40th at the New Englands, but I didnāt qualify for the Northeast Regionals,ā he added. āThis is exciting; Iāve never been to San Diego. I mean, only 40 kids from around the country have qualified for it, and Iām one of those 40, so Iām happy.
āI donāt have any specific goals in mind, but Iād love to make All-American,ā which means heād have to finish among the top 21 in the U.S. āIf I did that, Iād be able to say I did something my dad and aunt ā at least in high school ā didnāt do.ā
He said heād be thrilled with a sub-15 minute clocking..
āIāve never done that before, so if I did, that would be amazing,ā he grinned. āBut Iām just going out there to do the best I possibly can.
āThis has been a great season, very exciting. Nothing has really gone wrong. I think itās helped that Coach held me out of a few early dual meets. I feel good. The past couple of years, Iād run in all of the meets and Iād feel more fatigued. Now, I feel nice and strong.ā