The XC Countdown: Madison Brand of Middletown South

The XC Countdown is a series of interviews previewing the 2017 cross country season brought to us by Jordan Brannan, a two-time winner of the Indoor Meet of Champions 3200 meter.  He'll be joining NJ MileSplit for some summer cross country coverage. Brannan graduated from Colts Neck this past spring and will be attending Iona College this coming fall. - Robert Kellert

2:13 800 PR ✓
4:56 1600 PR ✓
6th 5k returner @ 18:10 ✓
3 Track North II Group III Sectional Titles ✓

129 days until the Meet of Champs

Q. How is your training going so far?
A. I took a two week break after nationals so we're just starting up again. We're meeting 3 days a week right now and just starting to pick up the speed and mileage slowly.

Q. What is your peak mileage going to be like and when are you going to hit it?
A. Probably like 8 or 9 miles by the end of the summer but right now we're doing more like 6 mile runs.

Q. When do you start doing more difficult workouts? 
A. Workouts for us will probably start in August. We really want to focus on peaking at the right time this year so we won't start doing anything hard until the first official practice on August 20th. 

Q. When do you open your season up?
A. We do a thing called "Saturday in The Park" on September 2nd. It's not an official time trial but it's a fun race we do and we use it to see where we are at the end of the summer.

Q. Where do you want to be at the end of the season?
A. Last year I got really sick at the end of my season and I really didn't end the way I wanted to so I'm just trying to keep PRing and place top 20 at the Meet of Champs and maybe top 10. But I really want to redeem myself from last year because I really didn't end the way I wanted to; that's my big motivation -- I really want to prove to myself that I can do better.

Q. What's being team captains like?
A. It's been really fun. Me and two other seniors Shannon Addario and Olivia Garvey are able to help with the younger kids and planning the runs and everything is a great experience. We have a very young team and I think it's going to be very fun building the team for when the seniors leave.

Q. When do you start official practice?
A. Official practice starts a week after the team gets back from Cross Country University Camp (August 8th-13th). Up until then the other seniors and I are planning 3 practices a week together. We hope to move it up to 5 days a week but even when we don't have a practice I'll still meet up with some of my teammates or the alumni guys.

Q. You had a great track season. Do you feel like your track times reflect your ability to run cross country? 
A. Personally I think I am a little better at track but I think because my [XC] season didn't go so well I had a lot of motivation to redeem myself in the track season. My track times are a little faster than my cross country times but I'm working hard to try and have them reflect each other a little better. 

Q. Other than staying healthy how do you feel you can improve on your cross country season?
A. I think peaking at the right time is something my coaches and I are working on. Last year I definitely peaked a little early but this year I'm really focusing on having the best Groups and Meet of Champions that I can have and run NXR with my teammates afterwards as well.

Q.  Anyone you are looking forward to racing this year?
A. I'm really excited to be racing with Rachel Kenny and Colleen Megerle. I think it's gonna be a really good year between the three of us and I think we can all really push each other and do some damage together. Colleen and I are really good friends and I think it will be fun to be racing together and pushing each other.

Q. You have a lot of speed on the track. What do you think your style of racing will be in the fall?
A. During my track season I tried to race more and get out in the beginning rather than sitting back and waiting until the end and it had a lot of success, so I definitely want to get out and hold on and then possibly kick at the end, but my main focus is on getting out as well as I can.

Q. What's your favorite course?
A. Without a doubt my heart is at Holmdel. It's the home of New Jersey cross country. We're there 2 to 3 days a week during the summer and then once a week when school starts. But Holmdel is where the home is.

Q. College plans?
A. As of right now I'm talking with Yale, Bucknell, Brown, University of Michigan and Boston College. I'm really excited but it's kind of a scary process not going where you're going, but still really exciting.