The Internet Home of Track & Field

Interval Session #24 - Emily Lipari
December 13, 2007

If you’re not a big follower of New York track and XC, don’t feel bad if Emily Lipari really snuck up on you this season. As a Greenvale NY (Roslyn HS) freshman in 2006 XC, she was 5th in the Class A meet and 10th at Feds. Going into the state track meet the following spring, she was a solid 10:09 3k performer. By ripping 24 seconds off that PR and winning in 9:45.64, however, she moved up toward the cusp of the national elite. Still, she wasn’t really known outside of The Empire State and the NON freshman mile title and an unbeaten, but unspectacular early fall campaign didn’t really change that.

But once you start beating the big girls at the end of the New York harrier season, you start getting national notice. After all, in a state with stars like Hannah Davidson, Sam Roecker, Caitlin Lane, and the NTN champ club from Manlius (Fayetteville-Manlius HS), winning the public state (best time overall) and the Federation meets means a lot.

So Emily was a good bet to make the Foot Locker Northeast team, and she did, about where she might have been expected to place. Few then, were ready for her to blast by Katie Flood, Aurora Scott, and Carly Seymour in the stretch to take sixth in San Diego – especially after hearing about a two week odyssey between the two Foot Locker meets that included two indoor meets and a 16-hour round trip for a soccer tournament in North Carolina.

DyeStat News Editor SteveU cruises over to Long Island, land of many of track’s most legendary and luminous personalities, to hear Miss Lipari tell the story.

1. First off, congrats on the awesome race at Foot Locker. Obviously, my predictions, based somewhat on your being 6th at region, proved I was kind of clueless as to how good you were. What has life been like the last two days since you got back? How have your friends and people at school reacted? Has it been really awesome?

Since I got back to school, everyone has been very excited. My brother's friends read the announcements in the morning and they were cheering and yelling about how I did to the whole school. In all of my classes, my teachers had me explain my race and weekend to the class, and some of my classmates were like, “You’re going to be in the 2012 Olympics!” All of my friends were so excited for me and, coming back to school, everyone was just so proud of what I had accomplished and that made me feel really good.

2. Can you give your story on how the race went last Saturday and how your plan worked?

In the beginning of my race, I got boxed in the middle and it was really tight. It was kind of hard to get away from one spot, and my shoe almost came off, but I am glad it didn't. Going into the race, I was just thinking about wanting to come in the top 15 to get All-American. My plan was to try to stay in the front pack, and don't let them get to far ahead of me, and at the last mile try to break away from who was near me. But the race turned out differently because I didn't get into the position early enough and didn't make my move early enough. Every race is a learning experience and I am still happy with the results.

3. It sounds like you had a pretty good season as a freshman, but really improved this summer to have a great sophomore year. Can you talk about your training and what you did to get where you were at the end of the New York season, as you won State and Feds?

My training started in the summer in July. I would train in the beginning by myself, or with my brother sometimes. Then I go on my family vacation to Lake George every year and I run my brother and my cousin, Andrew Gelston, who is also a senior but he goes to White Plains HS.

I would just put on the miles during the weeks of the summer, and then start my workouts on the track in September. This year, our track was closed because they were turfing our field, so we would run at Bethpage State Park every day. We would get home too late so we stopped doing that around the middle of September. We have some nice hills around our school, so we would go off campus on long runs or about an hour and just constantly run up those hills. We would go long about three or four times a week, which really helped. Throughout the rest of the season, it was pretty much the same thing, but my coach didn't want me to peak too early in the season, so the workouts and long distance runs would get harder, step by step, as the weeks went on. But overall in the summer I never really ran more than 25 miles per week.

4. From what I’ve heard, you have new indoor coaches and had a coach in cross-country who was a shot-putter. Can you talk a little bit about the coaching you have gotten at any point in your career to get to where you are now? I’ve even heard your brother, Tom, coaches you more than anyone. Please tell me the story here.

Well, my brother is definitely an inspiration in my life. He is always right by my side in every race. He even traveled out to California with me and missed two days of school for me. He always has helped me along the way, and always had confidence in me, and I give him a lot of credit for being able to tolerate me.

My coach, Vera Trenchfield, was a shot putter and she went to collage on a full scholarship and she used to attend Roslyn High School. She came back my freshmen year and she did a great job. She would always have me peak around the right time of each season and she helped me mentally though my first years of track. Now I have more confidence to run my own race, rather than to have some one pace me all the time. I give a lot of credit to my coach, and ever since third grade she kept telling me that I am going to be on her varsity team one day.

5. Ok, you’ve been waiting for it – here’s the inevitable question about … SOCCER!!! LOL … Please tell me everything about your soccer career … did you play soccer before you started running?

I started playing soccer when I was around four years old. I used to play in the Albertson Intramurals program. Pretty much when we were younger it was just run and kick the ball. Then around when I was in first grade, one of our close family friends (we didn't know them that well back then), Richard Sloper, came up to my mom and asked if she thought I would be interested in track. My mom said sure, why not? So I joined this CYO St. Aidan’s track team, where it was all relays like the 4x100 and the short distance races.

My friend Ally Sloper and I would just basically do it for fun and back then it was just whatever. Then around third grade, I joined the Albertson Anaconda soccer team and we were on that team for many years but then there was too many politics. Our whole team then moved to North Shore soccer club and that only lasted a year then. The team started to break apart about 3 or 4 years ago, so I came to the team I am on now, which is Syosset Elite. Our Syosset team has won a few tournaments, which has moved up our ranking. Syosset is a Region 1 Premiere team and we have made it to the state cup finals but lost in the last few minutes by one goal.

6. Now we’ve heard about this two weeks between FL NE and the Finals. You had an indoor meet the Friday after FL NE, and then another one that next Wednesday, right before you left for Foot Locker. And, in-between, you drove 16 hours round-trip to North Carolina for a soccer tournament. Really, I think this whole story is amazing. Let’s hear it.

Well, me, my dad and my friend who is on my team were supposed to drive down at 5 in the morning and miss that Friday of school. But then I found out I had to run in that meet on Friday and my friend did also. I ran the 55 and the 4x400, which I don't think affected me for Foot Lockers. We left The Armory at around 8:30 at night and we arrived in North Carolina around 4:30 in the morning. It was supposed to be a ten-hour trip, but it was shortened because it was the middle of the night, and there was no traffic, so that was good.

The trip wasn't that bad, at least for me and my friend. We watched a movie and then fell asleep right away, so the ride wasn't bad at all and it was comfortable. The whole weekend, we played four games in total and we ended up winning the tournament. Over the tournament, I scored two goals and made three assists. Then on Monday, we got back at around 2 or 3 in the morning.

7. And you ran sprint events in those meets – what’s up with that? What was it like for you as a distance runner to do that?

LOL … Well, running those sprinting events is so much different then running a 5k or a 3000m. I think running those events were kind of fun, because it was just like less then a minute and it was done. I wouldn't like to stick to the sprinting events; I would rather run around a soccer field then run a 55. I usually play outside midfield on my soccer team, so I’m used to running up and down a soccer field all day, which actually made those sprinting events fun.

Basically, for any distance runner to run a 55 or a 300, they have to be careful because you can easily pull something if you don't stretch properly. I mean, I don't really love indoor track that much, but I definitely love cross -country. So I guess it is fun to try new events once in a while. To run these before Foot Lockers did not affect me because I didn't go 100 percent on them; I basically just ran them so I can get that meet in for the season. Overall, it was different and actually fun for me to run those events, because it’s so far off from a 3000 or a 5k. I still managed to run a 44 in the 300 and 7.7 in the 55 which I’ve heard are not that bad.

8. For someone who’s a sophomore and doing all this stuff, you seem rather unaffected and have a balanced perspective on things. You seem to have a pretty supportive family, too.

Well, I just enjoy cross-country. I love the mud, wind, and cold and whatever. I really don't feel any pressure from anyone, because I am out there to run for my enjoyment and I don't let anyone get to me.

But when I was in 8th grade, I started running high school winter track and I would buckle under all the pressure. I felt I had to run well every meet and I would get nervous before every race and end up not running well. But as the years went on, I just get out there and ran, and forgot everyone else around me, so I am not affected by it.

My family is always right there with me and they always were there ever since the beginning. They loved being around the excitement of track. My parents love watching me and my brother both run and succeed. My family is really supportive and I am really glad to have them by my side, always cheering me on. Having them there always makes me want to run better because they have so much confidence in me, which makes me want to succeed even more.

Photo by Vic Sailer

Interval Sessions Index