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
Brian Hill - SR4:15 1600 PR ✓
9:13 3200 PR ✓
2nd 5k returner @ 15:19 ✓
10th Holmdel Returner @ 16:18 ✓
123 days until the Meet Of Champions
Q. When did training start up for you, and how is it structured?
I took two weeks off after my season ended at MOC and my couple weeks back have consisted of very easy low mileage running. This past week I've started to bring the intensity up a notch, but I'm still in the base phase of my training. We meet as a team three times a week, but for the rest I'm usually on my own at Huber Woods. Interval workouts haven't started yet and the longest run I've done so far was my long run this past weekend where I ran 80 minutes averaging 6:29 pace and finishing with a 5:59 at the end. I'll be aiming to hit peak mileage in late August when we go up to Radix Running Camp.
Q. As a senior, and the team's front man, what is your role on CBA?
My role is to lead by example and show the underclassmen what it takes to work hard and follow the CBA tradition. Running under Coach Heath for two cross country seasons helped me understand how powerful the CBA legacy is, and the last two senior classes were great at carrying on the CBA tradition and setting a good example for me. I'm looking to pass down what I've learned and some days that may mean taking over the pace on runs and picking it up to make sure we're working hard, to show that winning big races like Easterns, MOC, and Regionals does not come easily, and that if we want to be a top team in the country we have to work hard everyday. I'm not the most vocal person, but I find that leading by setting a good example can be just as effective because actions often speak louder than words.
Q. CBA has a rich tradition of team and individual titles. What are your individual and team goals this year and how are you achieving them?
My goal this year is to win races and be a low stick in the bigger meets. Last year I didn't win a race individually during cross country, and I only won three on the track. While winning races seems like a cliche goal, I'd like to race aggressively to win in all three seasons this year. CBA is known for team dominance, and in order to make that happen you need big individual races. We've missed having a low stick in cross country ever since Blaise Ferro left, and if i'm able to come top three in more races it will not only help me achieve my goals but also help us as a team achieve our goals. At CBA the big goal every year is trying to win NXN, and in order to do that you need a low stick. I end each of my logs with a countdown to NXN, and the team has 136 days to get ready.
Q. How can you describe your racing style?
I don't have a distinct racing style, I just follow the strategy I'm given. I've run well in races where the pace goes out fast and you just have to hang on like at Easterns, and I've also run well in races on the track where the pace goes out slow and I have to close hard the last mile like the Monmouth County 3200 and the 3200 at the Non Public A groups.
Q. What is your favorite course and why?
My favorite course is historic Van Cortlandt Park in the city because so many great runners from around the Northeast have run there. The Eastern States race is one of the toughest meets of the year and it's always a good indicator for how the team is looking at the midway point of the season.
Q. College plans?
I've visited Columbia, Wake Forest, and William and Mary so far and I am planning on visiting Yale, Michigan, and Notre Dame later this summer. I am also interested in NC State, University of Virginia, and Northern Arizona.
Q. What is your opinion on "The Shaka"?
It's not worth yielding to.
Q. What are your big takeaways from last year?
Last year was a very up and down year. I started out the year really well in cross country running 14:28 on our home course to defend the streak, running 16:17 at the Bowdoin Classic, and 12:42 at Van Cortlandt. After that my cross country season went south as my next few races were average and I was sick around MOC. My finish at NXN wasn't what I had in mind at the beginning of the year. During indoors I didn't run as fast as I would have liked in the 3200, but one of my biggest highlights of the year happened at nationals when I had my best race of the season running 4:20 to help us win the 4 x mile. This outdoor season I was able to lower my 1600 best to 4:15 at Twilight in my best race of the season, but I wanted to run faster than my season best of 9:13 in the 3200. I was not happy with how I ended the year placing 6th at MOC, since my training had been going really well up to that point. After running 9:16 off of a 4:47 first mile the week before I thought I was capable of running something special. My disappointing finish at MOC has left me hungry for a good senior year and has been motivating me this summer