Boston High School: MacKenzie McHugh

New England Roundup: Maine

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
5:40
PM ET
Madison Memorial High School senior Matt McClintock recently won his third Class C cross country title while posting the fastest time in the state in any class. McClintock also won the mid-season Festival of Champions which featured over 600 runners from 60 schools in and out of state. Last spring, he won the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs at the state track and field meet. He’s competing this weekend in the New England meet in North Scituate, R.I. He recently answered questions about his season and running career.

Q: How did you get started running?

MaineA: "I started running in 5th grade on the Madison Junior High XC team. I went to Athens Elementary so what would happen is Athens would practice on it's own and then we would just join the Madison team at meets. Fifth grade was the first year that I could compete in any "real" school sports, and I don't really know what drew me to it, but I decided to try it, and I guess my first race went well. I finished 13th. All my coaches were really happy with it and I guess I've been running ever since."

Q: Who have been your greatest influences?

A: "First and foremost would definitely be my coaches. Mrs. Moulton and Mr. Harper in junior high and Bob and Brandon Hagopian in high school. The person that really inspired me and drove me to get better was definitely coach Bob Hagopian. He's been with me since freshman year, through my wins and losses, and has always found a way to make me better."

Q: At what point did you feel you made a breakthrough in your high school career?

[+] EnlargeMatt McClintock
Gary Matt McClintock
A: "Without a doubt it was after I lost the conference championship last year. I got to cocky and that race showed me that I wasn't invincible, that I wasn’t going to win just because my name was Matt McClintock, but because I wanted it more than the guy in front, beside, or behind me. That race made me love running, because I then had something to prove and something to work for. It re-instilled that love for competition in me. I will remember that race for the rest of my life, and I'm definitely a better runner because of it."

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievements in track and cross country?

A: "Wow, I guess in cross country it would be my three state championships. Since fifth grade my dream was to win a state championship in high school. To have three cross country titles and two titles on the track is just unbelievable to me. In track, my greatest achievement was definitely breaking the Madison High School records for 1,600 and 3,200 meters, probably more so the 3,200 because I was the first Madison kid in history to go under 10 minutes in that event."

Q: Which sport do you prefer?

A: "It really depends on the season. During cross country my favorite sport is cross country. During track it's track. I just love to run and race whether it's on the road, a track, or a trail."

Q: What goals did you set this season and did you reach them?

A: "My first goal for the season was to go undefeated in Maine and three-peat the Class C State Championship. I'm proud to say I met this goal. My next goal was to go under 15 minutes for the 5k I haven't met this goal yet as we've never really had a good day for a championship race, but Saturday at the New England Championships looks to be a good day, and it's a very fast course so we'll see what I can do there.

Q: What is your goal for this week’s New England meet?

A: "My goal here is to win the title, and to go under 15 minutes for the 5K. As I said, before, it's a fast course, and there will be some incredibly strong competition to push me there."

Q: You won several races handily this season. Is it tough competing when you’re not pushed?

A: "I guess that would depend on your definition of competing. A lot of people look at competing as winning. I prefer to look at it in the manner of Steve Prefontaine. If I’m going to win, I want to know that I've done my best. So yes, it's difficult to push myself to fast times, but I always just try to stay focused and not worry about the pain or where my competition is and just get to the finish line as fast as possible."

Q: What do you enjoy most about running?

A: "I love the people that we meet. The type of people you meet at cross country or track events is totally different then you will see in any other sport. At the state meet, I was getting encouraged to reach my sub 16 goal by the coaches and family and teammates of people that I was directly competing against. I'm confident to say that you will not find nicer and more supportive fans at any other high school sports competition."

Q: Do you have any running role models?

A: "I have several running idols, the most prominent would be Steve Prefontaine. I try to live up to the guts and determination that he always showed as a runner. His quote “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift" are the words I live by. Another two are Haile Gebrselassie, and Kenenisa Bekele. Both are Ethiopian runners. Gebrselassie is a two-time gold medalist and world record holder. Bekele is the two-time defending Olympic 10,000 meter champion and holds World Records now."

Q: Where will you attend college and why did you choose that particular school?

A: "I will be running for Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania next year. I felt very comfortable around the campus and really connected well with Coach Aaron Russell and the entire team at Lock Haven."

Q: What other sports or activities do you enjoy?

A: "I enjoy all sports, but running is my one and only true passion."

Q: What is your training regimen in and out of the season?

A: "Sorry, but I don't like to discuss what my training is, at least not until after the outdoor track season."

Q: Where do you need to improve?

A: "I definitely need to improve on my kicking speed. In order to really be competitive in college I need to be able to win a race in the last 200 Meters if necessary. I feel that as my speed continues to develop in conjunction with my continued endurance training all of my events will improve drastically."

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