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Interval Session #71 - Steve Sulkin

By SteveU - October 2, 2008

1) You and the team have had a couple of seemingly successful races so far.  How would you gauge your progress and that of the team’s at this point as you head down the road to the state meet?

At this point, I'd say that we are about where we expected to be, but we still have a lot more work to do for state.  We will have to be better than we have been in order to do what we want to do at state, but we are right on track for that.

2) There’s been some comments I’ve heard about the volume and intensity of training you and some of your teammates enjoyed this summer.  Can you tell us what you did to step it up in the off-season and how you felt it went?  What were some workouts that built the most confidence for you?

I feel the off-season went very well for me and my team.  We know that the amount of work we put in over the summer determines how well we do during the season.  I always work hard and try to work my butt off during the off-season, but this year I tried to put in even more miles in than the years before.  I went on more long runs and more afternoon runs.

Another huge factor this summer was running with (teammate) Jordan Hebert.  We were pushing each other all summer and we were completely dedicated.  One specific workout that built my confidence was a 7 X 1200 workout that both Jordan and I ran faster than Achtien and Kern last year.  That was a clue to where we were at the time.

3) After finishing 6th at NTN Midwest last fall, you really stepped up and took 4th at NTN Nationals.  What was the difference in those two races for you?  What impact did that have on your feeling about what you could accomplish in the seasons ahead as a high school runner?

I didn't feel strong for NTN Midwest.  I was cramping up and felt really winded.  My theory was that I did not take my multivitamin that morning and couldn't function as well.  I sort of expected my finish at nationals.  I knew where I was at and that was just a sign that told me I was on the right track.

4) Were you happy about getting down close to 9:10 for 3200 last spring or were you really hoping for more?  What kind of goals individually do you have for this fall in terms of state and national placing, and for this spring on the watch?

I was happy about getting close to 9:10, but I really wanted more.  My goal was to be better than Tom was at 9:07, but I didn't do it.  My goal this year is to be state and national champion. For track, my goal is to score as many points as possible at the state track meet for my team.

5) In talking a bit with Coach Newton, he seems to feel this is one of the best York teams in several years.  How do you see this team compared to last year?  What are you and/or other seniors doing in terms of team leadership … and what are some of the things that need to happen for this team to reach its potential?

This year's team is so much better than last year.  Jordan and I are the captains and we all do our role to lead the team.  Jordan is the vocal leader.  He is good at telling people what's up.  I don't say much, but I lead the workouts and make sure the team is doing work.  All we need to do this year is to run to our potential on race day.  We are all in good enough shape, but we can't let the race psych us out.

6) The recent months have been notable for the release of “The Long Green Line” film.  What are your thoughts on the film and how it portrays the program?  Has it been a challenge at all to respond to reactions about the film and still keep focused on running, school, etc.?

I saw the movie and I thought it was exquisite.  It was really entertaining to see your friends on the big screen.  It really shows the program well.  I recommend that people see it.

7) Obviously, Coach Newton and the York program is one of the best known in the country and gets a lot of attention, which I imagine can be a blessing and a burden at times.  Are there misconceptions about the York program you would like people to understand?  What are some traditions with the program that are unique and make it special?

The only misconception I could think of is the one about York runners in college, which has been proven untrue with Don Sage.  There are so many things that make York special.  One is the meetings every day with Mr. Newton.  He gives so much insight and motivation everyday.  I am always interested in what he has to say.  One tradition that is sort of outdated is that we do jumping jacks during the time of the warm up.  I think it's funny we still do the stuff that Mr. Newton was doing back in the sixties.

8) In the years you have trained with Coach Newton, what are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned, both in running and for life in general?

Every practice this year, I had to make sure I was on top of things, or else I would be chewed out.  From this, I learned how to be able to be at my best every day.  I also learned responsibility by making sure I was always on time, or else I would be kicked off the team.

9) I’ve been told you are fairly serious and quiet, and let your running speak for you.  What are some things, especially outside of running – like your academic and non-running interests – that people might not know about you?

I am a hardcore White Sox and Bears fan.  I sit and watch the games, and yell and swear at the TV.  It's fun.  I don't take phone calls during any game unless they are from a family member about the game.  No distractions.  I also like laughing at the Cubs when they lose.

Photos: John Nepolitan from NTN 07, Jerrold Petrizzo from Palatine Invitational

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