Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tobin's race in Footlockers

For those who read this blog, I do know it is Christmas and I'm just writing about Thanksgiving events! Much has happened in the last month not allowing me much time. Now that I have a week of vacation time I will try to catch up on the major events that have occured in the last month.

The day after Thanksgiving, November 27, 2010, Tobin, Abram and I traveled to Long Island for a Footlockers Eastern Regional race. the race was held at Sunken Meadow State Park.  Four other teammates and their families traveled as well for the race on Saturday. Footlockers hosts multiple races at this event.  There are freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, elite and open races.  Tobin and John ran in the elite race.  The top 10 finishers qualify to race in Nationals two weeks later.

Here are the 5 Shrewsbury runners at Footlockers.  It was a cold windy day. I believe it was 40 with a strong wind.  It was cold!

Coach Smith had reserved two rooms at a hotel near the race.  We were able to get one of the rooms.  Unfortunately Coach Smith was unable to come and see his guys run. His daughter had a baby, their first grandchild a few days prior to the race. 

Tobin traveled with Coach Murray, John's father and the indoor/outdoor long distance coach, to Long Island earlier in the day.  Tobin and John wanted to run the course prior to race day.  Abram and I left in the early afternoon to arriveat the hotel by 5 . 

When we arrived at the hotel Tobin told us that he was having issues removing his spikes.  He had decided to take out his cleats because of multiple terrain changes.  Unfortunately for Tobin, he couldn't remove two spikes from each foot.  Aside from the normal spike tool, we didn't have any other options.  Abram asked for a maintenance worker to help us.  He tried several wrenches and it came down to the Vice Grip that did the trick.  Lesson learned:  take out spikes at home and never leave home without your vice grip!

The Sunken Meadow State park on Long Island was beautiful.  The park is at the end of the island.  While the boys were warming up and before races began, Abram and I explored a bit. We traveled over this bridge from grass, trees and walkways to...

this amazing view!  If you stood on the boardwalk there was no wind.  In the park and on the sand the wind was gusting hard. 

Thought this picture of water meeting sand was tranquil.

CJ and Dan ran in the sophomore race.  CJ was in the leading pack the whole race.  Dan has only run cross country for one season and is doing amazingly well. 

CJ finished 4th in the race, receiving a medal. 

Here is Dan's finish.  He did very well too.

The elite race was next.  Tobin and John were warmed up preparing mentally for the race.  Mark Murray stood on the starting line holding them a spot for the race.  There were 196 runners in the elite race.  The organization calls this race The Marty Lewis race.

John is wearing his dad's Greater Boston race shirt.  Mark was an Olympic finalist and raced in many NE races.  John stayed in the front pack the whole race. 

It was harder to get good pictures of Tobin because of the dense pack of guys he was running with. 

The course was well done for spectators, although many argue that cross county is not a spectator sport.  Tell that to the crowds of people who come to these races!

John was ahead of  Tobin in the race.

John's finish was amazing.  He was behind a group of 6 or more runners.  He started to sprint towards the finish and was boxed out, ran outside the group and passed them all to finish fourth overall!  This was John's finishing time.  The top 15 finishers of this race all beat the winner's time from last years race!  Each year the guys seem to get faster.  It's amazing. 

Tobin gave it his all in this race.

Here is his finishing time.  He finished 96th overall.  He ran with kids from Penn, NJ, NY, MA, CT, RI and ME. 

Here is John standing at the podium after receiving his medal.  He traveled to San Diego, CA on Dec 11, 2010 to run in Nationals.

Took this back picture of Abram, Tobin and Dan after the race. 

Mike ran in the junior race. 

Based on the winners time, Tobin speculates that he could have placed second in the juniors race.  He doesn't regret running in the elite race.  He ran against the best in the east and beat half of them!

Here are the guys again.  Great job!  All of them are running in winter track.  They hope for another great season.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I hosted Thanksgiving again this year.  Marie,Chip, Marita, Jacob, Isaac, Jenna, Aidan, Sierra, Leah, Jesse and Jacinta came to our house for dinner.

I regret that I did not get a picture of the turkey when it was done.  It was a 23lb one!  I was able to get it from a local farm.

I didn't take any photos until after dinner.  I did get this picture of all the young girls together in the living room.
 Here is a good photo of Jacinta hanging with Sophie, Rachel and Luke.  Carmen was on the couch, but her face was not in the picture.

I've said this in the past, but Aidan is Jenna's boy:  loves chocolate.  Jenna made a chocolate cheese cake which Aidan ate quickly.

Cute Sierra.  She loves hanging out in her walker.  She hung out with us in the living room in this.

Before dessert we had a wonderful surprise by Nettie and Russ.  Sophie kept asking to go to our house to see Carmen and they agreed.  It was a great surprise. 

In this informal picture you see Jesse, Leah, Abram's back, Russ and a bit of Grandpa Arcifa.

We did our annual gift swap using Tobin's cross country hat. 

Russ was in heaven holding Sierra that night.

Marley, one of my new cats, loves attention.  Here he is getting love from Nico and Tobin.  Marley and Zori will hang out with family while large groups are over. 

I thought this was a good picture of Marita as she passed the hat around for everyone to make their pick for Christmas exchange.

Thanksgiving can be very busy.  I was thankful that families brought desserts and bread making my cooking job easier.  Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tobin's running at States and Captain news

I am a bit behind in posting this. I had been using my "down-time" in the late evening to keep up with the blog. I recently went to the library to pick up requested books and found a few for myself. As a result, reading took precedent and thus delaying this post.

The Shrewsbury Cross Country team qualified to run in States by placing 2nd in Districts. The three teams from Central Mass that qualified to run in states had an advantage of having just run the same course the week before for Districts.

Tobin personally had a busy and some-what crazy day. District Band auditions and the Cross Country State meet are always scheduled on the same day. We decided to request an early time for him to audition on the french horn because he was concerned that he would not play well after running the race. We woke up early drove to North Middlesex, a 50 minute drive, notified the administrators he was coming earlier than his school and he auditioned. Next, we drove another 40+ minutes to get him to Gardner, MA before 10am so he could warm up for a 11:00 race!

Pictured below are many of the past and present runners that came to cheer on the team. It is impressive to have a number of past runners, all who run at their prospective colleges, come out for a State's meet! Tobin is holding the cross country flag in the picture. It is now in my attic, waiting for next season!

I had to take a photo of a number or guys dancing around in neon suits.  One other school's mascot join in on the fun too.  I later learned that this was the Pembroke team in neon.  They ran well at State's.  Tobin loved these body suits.  He has ordered one to wear at the Junior class Neon dance this coming Saturday!  He has guts!

At 11, the race began and John Murray was in the lead.  A lead he never lost.

It was extremely crowded near the ropes for the beginning of the race.  I just kept the shutter button down and let it take many pictures.  Luckily I found this one of Tobin in the crowd.  I don't think I can say enough about how much I treasure my camera.

Here's Tobin and CJ just after the 1 mile marker.

This is a cool spot in the race.  The runners have just gone down a huge hill to climb back up another one and around a tree.  It is nearing the 2 mile marker.

If you look in the background you can see how crowded the roped off area was near the finish.  I could only get back pictures of him because I was only able to stick the camera out through the crowd and push the shutter button.

Kurt Gustafson, a SHS XC runner who graduated in 2003 took this picture of him on the final stretch.  When I mentioned that past runners come to states to cheer on current runners I was not kidding!  Kurt never ran with Tobin, yet came to States and photographed those who ran.  We were able to get this photo from Facebook.   

Tobin ran well at State's.  He finished in 15:05, but it was logged as 15:15 due to pushing and an odd way to log times.  Shrewsbury ranked 8th, the best they have ever done.

Nettie, Russ, Luke and Sophie came to cheer him on.  Nettie found Tobin before the race and said "good luck".  I know it meant a lot to him. 

A few runners from North Andover were in the race so Nettie wore her Knights sweatshirt and added Tobin onto her back!

Jenna and Sierra came too.

So did Aidan and Isaac.  It was a cold day; 37 but sunny.

Tobin saw all his fans briefly after the race.  I know that it meant a great deal to him that relatives came to see him run. 

Tobin is pictured here with the MA State champion!  John Murray set a new state record, running the course in 14:15!  He won states by 13 seconds.  The record for states had been held for 12 years until John blew it out of the water.  This is incredible for this is a race among the fastest in all the schools of MA!  John was interviewed by many reporters that day. 

They have a tradition of drinking chocolate milk after a race.

This season of cross country has been amazing for Tobin.  He has worked hard since the summer and it paid off.  It was an honor, priveledge and inspiration for Tobin to run and work with John this season. 

Tobin has been given the honor as one of the captains of next years cross country team.  It is a title he takes seriously and looks forward to working with many of the same guys and hopes to add a number of new freshman and other classmen to the team in the fall. 

Cross Country is where Tobin's passion lies.  I know he will strive to run well in indoor and outdoor.  His progress this season has earned him a letter from UMASS Amhurst looking at him as an athlete.  Time will tell where all of this will lead.  I know it has helped to develop a driven son who can accomplish many things when dedication is placed into it. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

District All Star

I have to get this blog out before Tobin runs in States on Saturday! 

Many of you read that Tobin finished 7th overall in Districts.  Here is a bit of the days story:
Shrewsbury Cross Country boys team placed second in the District race Saturday October 13! They were only 5 points behind the 1st place team. That is a very close scoring for cross country.

Here they are holding their second place trophy. I have several other pictures of the team with the trophy, but since every guy had a hand on the trophy I couldn't see faces too well.  This informal picture captures many of their faces and also the pride they had winning this trophy.  Last year they tied for 2nd, but their 6th man finished behind the other team's 6th man giving them 3rd place.  Even though only three teams from the District race move onto States a trophy is only given to 1st and 2nd place.  This year the cross country team brought home a trophy for Shrewsbury High.

Here is a picture of the girls team.  The girls race a great race.  They placed fourth.  Only the top three teams move to states.  Individuals can race in states if their times were fast enough.  Two girls from Shrewsbury will run in Saturday's states race:  Becca and Nicole. 

Now for the race itself.  The race began and John Murray was out leading and he never gave up the lead.  He finished first! Shrewsbury's uniform is mainly gold with navy shoulders and sides.   

As I edited the photos I noticed that on the left of the above picture you can see five of the six runners from Shrewsbury.  Coach has been preaching the effect of the pack mentality.  Shrewsbury used this in Districts.

I had to include this great picture of Tobin at the start of the race.  I find his legs muscles incredible.

The Shrewsbury XC flag was held high at the race.  Here are some of the teammates that were there to cheer on the varsity at Districts.  I overheard some other kids saying "Hey, we need a flag like that!". 

There were a few spots on the course that I ran to take pictures.  This tree marks a turn in the course after a long downhill.  John was in the lead and moving quickly.

Tobin came around strong and near the front.

I have a picture of CJ at the same tree.  I did not stay at this point to take more pictures because I wanted to see John and Tobin finish.

John finished first with a time of:  14:15.5.  He broke the course record that was set 12 years ago!  He broke it by 9 seconds.

Tobin finished 7th with a race time of 15:00:0!  This makes him a Telegram and Gazette All Star.  He will have a nice dinner and interview with the newspaper.  They always make quarter page write ups for the top seven runners from Districts.  This will be displayed in the High School for his junior year!  What an honor to be all star for two consecutive races!  Tobin improved his time from last year by 48 seconds.

CJ and Curtis placed 14th and 15th with times of 15:21:0 and 15:21:7!

Mike Bodden had been the JV star.  Because of his finish during the last game of the season, Bodden was given the 7th man spot for Districts.  He gave everything in this race and finished 5th for the team!  Wow, great job.
Dan is a sophomore and his first year on the team. He finished with a great time of 16:13.

Branden Cramer finished on fumes the last mile and was great for the team.  Nice going!

Chris Favulli came to the race to cheer on the guys. He is picture on the right.  Chris ran with the team last year. He is now running for UMASS Lowell.  It was great that he came to see this race.  Tobin felt dizzy after the race, but recovered fine later that day.

Medals were given to the top 15 runners.  Here Tobin and another top finisher are congratulating the other runners.  Many of them know each other by first name.

Coach Smith was beaming with pride holding the trophy and walking with John.

Curtis Beals and Coach Smith

Captured a picture of Coach Smith and Tobin. 
When I dropped Tobin off at the HS to catch the bus, I told him it was a great day for a run.  It was a great day.  The sun was out, a bit warm for a fast run, just a great day for a run.  Saturday should be similar.  There will be wind though, but the States race is on the same course as Districts this year.  Should be another great day for a good run.  Shrewsbury is going for 1st place.  I know they will run hard and do well.  I will keep you posted.