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