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Jacob Shiffrin is leading the Guilford boys’ cross country team as a senior co-captain this fall. Jacob and the Indians captured the SCC Hammonasset Division title during last week’s action. (Photo courtesy of Jacob Shiffrin )
Jacob Shiffrin is always motivated to finish in the top of the pack while running for the Guilford boys’ cross country squad. A senior captain, Jacob helped the Indians complete their regular season by winning the SCC Hammonasset Division title last week and is looking to help the team see continued success during its postseason meets.
Jacob initially wanted to be a sprinter at Guilford and started out by running the 100 and 200. In spring 2018, he moved to the 400 and 800 as a member of the outdoor track squad.
Eventually, Jacob turned to the 1,600 and the 3,200, and that’s when everything really started to click. Jacob’s best time in the 1,600 (one mile) is 4:56, while his top mark for the 3,200 (two miles) is a 10:17.
“I was OK with the mile,” Jacob says. “What I really began to like was running two, three, or more miles in a race.”
So, Jacob decided to run cross country for the Indians as a junior last fall. He immediately caught the eye of Head Coach Jon Rivera, who’s happy that Jacob signed up for the team.
“He’s a quiet kid. It’s his running that speaks volumes,” says Rivera. “I’ve never seen a person work harder at anything. When he locks into something, he’s in 100 percent.”
Jacob and fellow senior captain Ben Crair have been battling for the top place in Guilford’s races throughout the season. Jacob feels that this friendly competition brings out the best in both of them.
“He was first in some of the earlier meets. Now, I seem to be getting the edge,” Jacob says. “It’s all about competition. We’re both challenging each other.”
Jacob and Crair conducted all of the Indians’ captains’ practices during the summer. Both athletes also prepared for the campaign by attending the Centaur Running Camp in Rhode Island.
“I was running around 70 miles per week,” Jacob says. “I wanted to be in the best possible shape heading into my senior year.”
Jacob’s desire to improve has trickled down to his younger brother Justin, a sophomore who competes for Guilford’s varsity squad.
“He was always tagging along,” says Jacob. “Now, he’s pretty good.”
Jacob stays busy while balancing school and sports with his part-time job as a busboy at Liv’s Oyster Bar in Old Saybrook. Jacob uses some tight time management, along with a little help from his parents, to ensure that he accomplishes everything he needs to.
“When I’m working, which is at night, I don’t always get that much sleep,” Jacob says. “But either my mom [Kim] or my dad [Glenn] makes sure that I’m up and off in the morning.”
In school, Jacob is focusing on a math curriculum with an emphasis on calculus. He wants to attend college and continue his cross country career at either UConn, Eastern Connecticut, or UMass-Amherst.
“I’m looking at a career in accounting,” says Jacob.
However, before he graduates from Guilford, Jacob wants to guide his cross country team to a triumphant finish in the 2019 season. The Indians are running in SCC Championship this week and will compete at the Class MM State Championship the following week.
“I’d like to place in the top 10 [individually] at SCCs,” Jacob says. “I believe we have a chance to win a state title. That’s our goal.”