Hope Tiboni of Mendham racing last year before high school. / Photo courtesy of Hope's Mother.
Interview with Mendham High School (NJ) freshmen Hope Tiboni
Hello Hope, I hope your freshmen year has gone well so far and thank you for answering some questions for us today. It is still early for many freshmen careers around New Jersey but you were one of the athletes really standing out from the rest. This past month has been your first taste of high school running, before this were you able to gain a lot racing of experience at the middle school level?
I was fortunate enough to qualify for several national races at the Junior Olympics while I was in middle school. This enabled me to have diverse types of training that prepared me for highly competitive races.
If you were able to run in middle school, what have some of the biggest changes training wise been for you? - If you weren't able to run middle school, has high school running been everything you've expected so far?
Running in middle school was a much more individualized training approach, while high school has been more of a team environment. There are pros and cons to both styles, but high school has given me the opportunity to expand off my previous years of training and compete on a higher level.
You placed 6th in the girls Varsity race at Roxbury back in week 2 of the season running 19:05 for the 5000 meter race. You even led your team to a second place finish in that race. A fantastic start, did you know going in that you were going to place well at the meet? How did it feel to open up your invitational career like that?
It was great to race my first meet at Roxbury with my team. I was unsure what to expect at my first high school meet, but it was an honor to represent Mendham and open my season with that time and place.
The start of a girls race at the Bernie Magee Class Meet where Hope won the freshmen race by over 17 seconds. / Photo by Aaron Laserna for MileSplit
The next large meet you ran was at the Bernie Magee Class Meet, this time you ran the freshmen only race and won with a 9:25 for the 2500 meter race. You were the leader by over 17 seconds in that race. Did you feel more comfortable running the freshmen course and with freshmen competition or do you go into that race like any other?
Just like any race, the competitors I raced against were all very talented athletes with a lot to offer. I entered that race like any other competition and gave 100 percent. I try and prepare for every race the same and look forward to the competition.
Both your races were just over six minute pace, and your 5K best as far as I know is 19:05 which is pretty impressive for a freshmen. Have you ran a few dual meets this season? Can you give us any insight into how those races went for you?
Entering these high school meets is a whole new world to me. I think it will just take time for me to settle into the most comfortable pace and feel prepared for the upcoming dual meets. My times before high school were competitive and I can only have a positive outlook and only hope for the best in the near future.
I'm sure there is a support group there whether it is from coaches, teammates, family, or friends. How has your team and upperclassmen helped you adjust to the high school regimen? Anyone else?
The upper classmen at cross-country have gone far out of their way to help me transition to the new team and schedule. However, my family is my biggest supporters and they have never missed one of my races. Having my family at my meets gives me confidence and inspiration to do the best that I can.
How did you get into running?
My Dad introduced me to running during the summer months of 2010 and I began to join him running the Patriot’s Path. Together, we entered the world of running and it only grew from there. It was only after my first race, as a ten year old, that I realized running could become my permanent sport.
Will you be running the trifecta of fall, winter, and spring or will you be participating in other sports as well?
As of right now, I am running in cross-country and spring track. I hope to be part of the winter track team in the near future, but for now I take off in the winter. I allow my body to rest from running and prepare for the following season.
What is your favorite work out so far?
My favorite workout usually takes place in the summer when I have the time and freedom to run. It usually incorporates hill work, sprints and distance. Summer workouts allow me the luxury to run when my body feels right and rest when needed. Without the constraints of school and schedules, I am free to run whenever.
A non-running question now, what is your favorite school subject and why?
My favorite school subject would have to be English because of the creativity that this class requires. Just how there are no correct answers in running, English is the same. Of course there are aspects to the class that are necessary to know, but for the most part, English is a flexible class that adjusts to every student’s personality. It allows me to take a break from formulas and methods and show the creative and innovative facet this class can bring to a student.