Cross Country Q&A: Tony Smoragiewicz

Central High School star Tony Smoragiewicz is the reigning AA cross country state champion. Last year, he finished third at Foot Locker Nationals and ninth at Nike Nationals. MileSplit's Todd Grasley catches up with Smoragiewicz to talk about summer training, his Nike and Foot Locker experience, and his goals for his senior season.

What did your summer training consist of?

My summer training consisted of swimming five days a week, biking four days a week, and running four days a week. All of this was focused toward triathlons.  I just got back from Elite Camp this week and had a blast. It was from last Friday afternoon until Monday morning. The group was Anthony Armstrong, Sarah Baxter, Justin Brinkley, Jacob Burcham, Camille Chapus, Edward Cheserek, Darren Fahy, Jillian Fanning, Andrew Gardner, Katie Knight, Luis Luna, Kelsey Margey, Daniel Martinez, Maddie Meyers, Amy-Eloise Neale, Craig Nowak, Haley Pierce, Christie Rutledge, and Katie Sischo.  It was great to train with the best guys and girls in the nation and Nike treated us like professional athletes too.Everyone was asking "So how many miles do you run?" to each of the athletes. The workouts weren't killer, but it did give you an idea of where you compare to the other athletes.  Our workout was 4 x 1200 followed by a mile, all on a grass field and right around five min pace with 90 seconds recovery time.

On the topic of triathlons is it something you plan to continue doing in college and pursue afterwards as well?

I think triathlon training help gives me a break from running while still improving my aerobic base and keeping me in shape while still improving. In college, I plan to run because I need to improve in order to beat the best tri-athletes in the world and because it will pay for some of my education. Since I still enjoy competing in triathlons, I hope to continue cross training in college and plan to race a couple of tris during the summer. Right now I've started to narrow down my list of colleges, but I'm still not sure where I want to go.

Last year you did both Foot Locker and Nike Nationals. What was that experience like for you and what is the key to a championship?

For me to bring home the title, it's going to take an increase in the intensity and duration of my workouts in addition to my weekly mileage growing also. Both meets are a great experience, NXN and Foot Locker, I'm happy that I can go to both because each one offers some things that the other doesn't.

What are your goals for your senior season?

This year I'd like to win state, NXN, and Foot Locker. I know I have tough competition but I'm looking forward to it. I'd also like to run under 14:40 if the weather and course are good.

Your team Central High School finished sixth at state, but you return everyone of the top 7 except for Kyle Kessler. How is the team looking and who do you expect to step up?

It's going to be hard losing Kyle because of his great personality, he could make the whole team laugh and put us in a better mood. Along with him we also lose Daniel Lucero, who moved to Sioux Falls, but even with those losses I think we still have the potential to place higher than we did last year. Our team isn't focused on state right now, but rather just getting in some miles and building the relationships on the team. On the girls side I think we have a really good chance of taking top three.

Do you have any superstitions or pre-race rituals?

I don't have any prerace rituals that I do before my races but I do like to be by myself where it's quiet and I can visualize my race.

What are some big meets you are looking forward to this season?

I'm looking forward to running my state meet because it will be my last cross country meet with my team which will be a little sad and I'm also looking forward to the NXN regional meet which is also in Sioux Falls. Also, Nike and Foot Locker Nationals because of the competition and conditions I will face.

What is it like to kind of be the face for distance running in South Dakota and to put the state on the map?

I love being from South Dakota and representing my state at the national level. We've had some really talented runners come out of South Dakota before, but it's fun to put our state back on the map and give it some recognition.

Who is your favorite pro athlete and why?

My favorite pro athlete is Lance Armstrong because of everything he has gone through and what he has gone on to accomplish against the odds and his critics.

Best Advice someone has given you or motto you live by?

Be willing to give the extra effort that separates first from the one in second.

Personal Bests

  • 1600 Meter Run 4:23.11

  • 3200 Meter Run 8:57.65

  • 5000 Meter Run 15:00.90

Interview After 3rd Place Finish at Foot Locker Nationals

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