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Miezejeski Blazing New Trail for Valley Cross Country
Senior captain Macklin Miezejeski turned in a top-12 finish at the Class SS State Championship to advance to compete at the State Open on behalf of the Valley Regional boys’ cross country team. (Photo courtesy of Macklin Miezejeski )
Macklin Miezejeski crossed the finish line on a solid career with Valley Regional cross country by competing among Connecticut’s best runners at the State Open Championship. Macklin paved his way to the Open by finishing in 12th place with a time of 17 minutes and 36 seconds at the Class SS State Championship during the previous week, earning All-State honors in the process. The senior, who was also named to the Academic All-State Team, has served as a captain for the Warriors the past two seasons.
Earlier in the postseason, Macklin came in 10th place in the Shoreline Conference Championship by posting a time of 16:48 to garner All-Shoreline Conference First Team accolades. Macklin feels that he’s made a lot of progress as a runner, and that was evident based on his time at Shorelines.
“Shorelines is a big accomplishment for me,” says Macklin. “Last year, I had another teammate, Jason Montecalvo. He really pushed me last year. He made me a much better runner last year than I was my sophomore year. Seeing that growth was a big accomplishment for me.”
Macklin continued improving in the recent fall season after putting in some significant work this summer. Macklin attended a training camp that helped him determine the best regimen to facilitate his overall growth as a runner.
“During the summer, I went to a running camp called Green Mountain Running Camp in New Hampshire. Being surrounded by other runners for a week was big,” Macklin says. “I was immersing myself in that culture, like the dietary things and how to take care of my body after working out. Sleep was a big factor. They ensured we got around nine to 10 hours. I continued that when I came home, allowing my body to rest and prevent as many injuries as possible.”
In addition to improving as a runner, Macklin has also become a better leader for his team. Macklin has grown more vocal while spending the past two seasons as one of the Warriors’ captains.
“I was a captain both last year and this year. Egan Rothrock is the captain, as well. After Jason Montecalvo graduated, I worked out with Egan. We tried to keep everyone’s spirits up and push them and make sure they were mature and responsible,” says Macklin, who lives in Deep River. “I embraced the leadership aspect of it and made sure the team really pushed themselves. It worked out well, and we made some noise in the Shoreline meet.”
Now that the cross country season has come to a close, Macklin is getting ready for the basketball season.
“I began cross country as cross training for basketball,” Macklin says. “Coming into the basketball season when we’re doing condition practices and things like that, I can do a bit more, because I have the endurance. I don’t get as winded...or need a water break [as often as] someone who hasn’t been running.”
After the basketball season, Macklin will lace up his running shoes again to compete for the Valley Regional boys’ outdoor track squad. Any kind of running is enjoyable for Macklin, but cross country holds a special place in his heart.
“I prefer cross country over track, because I feel like the camaraderie of it all is a bit different. It’s a smaller team, so we bond with each other more, and all your teammates are together at practice all the time,” says Macklin. “We try to get as many kids that do cross country to do track in the spring or indoor in the winter. That way, they get better in both sports.”
Valley cross country Head Coach Brian Drinkard has seen the progress that Macklin’s made on the trails. Drinkard values what Macklin has provided for the Warriors both on and off the course.
“Macklin has been a leader for the program over the past two seasons. He really helped step up the boys’ training this year and has always led by example,” Drinkard says. “After he finished 12th at the Class SS State meet and qualified for the Open, we were so happy and proud of Macklin.”
Throughout his cross country career, Macklin worked to build the foundation for a successful program. Valley has had strong teams in the past, and Macklin wanted to help the Warriors get back on a path to success.
“Valley cross country was very strong in the ‘90s. We’ve fallen off that, and we’re not as strong as we used to be,” says Macklin. “I’m trying to get people back to running at Valley and that we can be good at this sport. I’ve been trying to recruit as many people as I can to join the team.”
After graduating from Valley, Macklin plans to go to college in Europe. He specifically has his sights set for Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he’s looking to study international relations or political science. Macklin wants to get a taste of cultures outside of the United States, and he hopes to get involved in diplomacy.
“I definitely considered competing as a runner at the college level, but I’m looking to go to school in Europe. I won’t be able to run in the NCAA, but I want to run in a club over there semi-professionally. I want to run throughout my life, because it’s a big factor in staying healthy,” says Macklin. “I love to travel and broaden my horizons. I want to come back to the U.S. with a better understanding of the world and my place in it.”