By Tim Morris |
Red Bank Regional High School harrier Tyler Schwinn is no longer running with the pack, but ahead of it. “It’s a bit of an adjustment,” the Buc junior said of running out front. “I was always better at tagging along on people’s shoulders using them to push myself by passing them.”
His new racing approach surfaced at the Battle at Ocean County held at Lakewood’s Ocean County Park where he won the Junior Class race in 16:05.
Halfway through the 5K race Schwinn was running in the lead pack, a departure from his former race strategy, when opportunity struck.
“People started to fade and I knew it was my time to take it.
“It was a little nerve-wracking being in the front,” he added. “You can’t see anyone behind you.”
With only the fear of someone catching him, Schwinn handled the task of pushing himself from the front rather well. He really didn’t have to worry about anyone catching up to him. At three miles, just in case someone was lurking behind him, Schwinn stepped on it one more time pushing all the way to the finish line. The Buc had broken the field winning the race by 13 seconds.
“It was a nice confidence booster,” he said of his win on Sept. 9. “It indicated that I’m strong and that I can run fast.”
It was also another example of what has made Schwinn a different runner this fall – his strength. He learned a lesson in 2016 when his fastest times, at the Monmouth County and Manhattan Invitational, were run in early October. He admits that by the end of that season he was tired.
“I realized that my best races were early in the season,” he pointed out. “I didn’t have the strength. I hadn’t trained hard enough.
“I had to get stronger in the summer,” he added. “I upped my mileage and that has helped.”
He was doing 40 miles a week last summer and this year he moved it to 50-60.
The early results are a solid indicator that the RBR harrier is ready for a breakout season.
With the win, Schwinn knows he has gone from the hunter to the hunted and with that comes expectations. That’s not something that he worries about. In fact, it’s a motivator.
“It makes me run better,” he explained.
After some time off following the cross-country season last fall, Schwinn posted some very good times in the 1,600 meters (4:25.4) and 3,200 (9:29.9) on the track. But, when it comes to track versus cross-country, there is no doubt which one the Buc prefers.
”Cross country has always been my favorite,” said Schwinn. “I’ve always been more comfortable running the 5K.”
Schwinn is right where he wants to be with championship meets coming up in October.
On Oct. 4 at Holmdel Park, he and the Bucs will be looking to win the Shore Conference “A” Central Division title. Last year, the meet ended with Red Bank, Holmdel and Raritan sharing the crown.
Schwinn will have plenty of competition for first place overall. Raritan’s Louis DiLaurenzio posted a 16:07, just two seconds behind Schwinn at the Battle at Ocean County where he ran in the Senior race. Shore Regional’s Drew Maher won the Class C race at the Randolph Invitational the same day that the Buc was winning at OCP. Holmdel’s Ean Jaffe is the other chief contender.
They will all duel again on Oct. 17 at Holmdel Park for the Monmouth County Championship.
Schwinn’s individual goals for 2017 are to run under 16:00 at Holmdel Park and 15:30 when he returns to OCP for the Shore Conference meet. As for the team, he said they would like to win the division, place high at the county and conference and qualify as a team for the NJSIAA Group Championships.
Schwinn isn’t the only runner who has excelled in the first month of the season. Middletown South’s Madison Brand, expected to be among the best in the state, has lived up to expectations. The Eagle won the Senior race at that Battle at Ocean County in 18:35 and backed that up with a first place finish at the historic Bernie Magee Class Meet at Greystone Park in Morris Plains on Sept. 23. The Eagle captured the Senior I competition in 18:36.1.
It was a big day for South as Kathleen Shay took the Junior I race in 19:35.1. With teammate Ryanne Mulligan (20:36) and Tess Bizzoso (20:57.8) finishing third and sixth in team scoring, the Eagles won the team title.
At the Thompson Park Class Meet in Monroe Township, Mater Dei Prep’s John Spinelli was the victor in the Senior Boys 2 race in 16:21.80. Finishing second was the Rockets’ DiLaurenzio (16:42.96)
CBA proves it’s still tops.
Christian Brothers Academy lived up to its pre-season No. 1 ranking in the Nike Cross National Northeast Regional when the Colts traveled to Wappingers Falls, New York, for the Bowdoin XC Classic. CBA won the competition that featured teams from all over the Northeast winning handily over Haddonfield Memorial from New Jersey, 73-95.
CBA runners went 1-11-15-21-25 in team scoring.
Brian Hill was first for CBA taking second overall in 16:05.10. Tim McInerney (16:47.10), Ryan Miele (16:52.40), Troy Hill (16:59.70) and John Sheridan (17:11.40) rounded out the Colts scorers.
Bowdoin Park is where the Northeast Regional Qualifier for the Nike Cross Nationals will be held on Nov. 25. The Colts will be the defending champions.
This article was first published in the Sept. 28-Oct. 5, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.
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