The book on Andy Page: a dedicated Fauquier cross country runner
Tuesday, Aug. 27
Andy Page was named Fauquier Times 2013 Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year as a junior. He hopes for a big senior year this fall. --Photo by Rick Wasser
Hundreds of kids jump up and down at the starting line of a cross country meet, stretching out their limbs and eagerly anticipating the start of a grueling 3.1-mile race.
The gun blasts and it becomes a mad scramble with shoving and body checks as each competitor battles for space. Racers often fall to the grass as legs tangle. Mud might victimize a few, but the runners who make it out of the melee hit their stride and the race truly begins.
All that’s left is a fast pace racing over rolling hills and grassy slopes.
Sounds easy, right?
Fauquier High senior and star runner Andy Page has been picking his way through the pack since his sophomore year.
He was the Falcons' No. 1 scorer last year en route to being named 2013 Fauquier Times Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Page’s times have progressed at an excellent rate over his four year career, dropping from 18 minutes, 24 seconds in his freshman year to last year’s best time of 16:54 as a junior.
His legs will benefit the Falcons one final season this fall.
“Andy is a hard-working and dedicated athlete," said coach Quentin Jones. "He has the demeanor to lead his teammates and takes the initiative. Athletically, his speed, combined with his endurance, has made him a good cross country runner."
Page’s journey into cross country echoed the path of a surprisingly large number of runners: he switched from the soccer field to the track.
“I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I only wanted to condition myself in preparation for soccer in the spring,” said Page, who began cross country as a freshman. “From there it really started to grow on me to where I respected it as its own sport. Last year I decided to move away from soccer and fully focus on running.”
Running is not always the most popular sport due to its high demand of exhaustion and painful hours of training. Page's view on training and practice has evolved: he loves it now.
“I think the reason it grew on me so quickly was because in running you can very clearly see your improvement. I also grew to like the process, and for me it is very fulfilling when I run a good race and I think back to all the training I did and how it all came together to help me that day."
Page credits his coaches for building his interest in the sport and and making him faster. He praises his fellow runners, too.
"When I first started I really struggled to complete a 20-minute run, but luckily that freshmen year, a group of upperclassmen took me under their wing" he said. "I was really small and lanky that year and had weak running form. Since then I have put in lots of hours lifting and doing core body exercises."
He said his speed has improved and his stride is a lot stronger and he doesn't get pushed around as much during the start of races. He says his running form "still needs improvement but has become a lot better.”
This year Page returns to a Falcon team that is largely still intact from last season’s second place finish in the Evergreen District, where he led them with a time of 17:19.
Page is set to lead the team once again, both in his finishes and in a leadership capacity.
“Andy plays many roles on our team, not just as a runner but also as a big part of helping the younger athletes improve,” said Jones.
Page understands his role as a senior mentor and hopes to help the younger runners progress just like a group of seniors did for him three years ago.
As challenging as being a great leader can be, Page thinks that the bond his team has away from competition is equally valuable.
“Any success that Fauquier has as a team is largely because we're more than just teammates. It's like being part of a huge family. In school we're always sitting next to each other in class and at lunch, and during the weekends and the summer we are always hanging out. We're very close to our coaches too; they sacrifice a lot for us. Because it's such a tight-knit group, we are each just that more motivated to do well, knowing that we're doing it for the team,” Page said.
His recently graduated teammate Curtis Grady, who running track at Christopher Newport this fall, dueled Page in a positive way last season.
Page might have won their race, edging out Grady by just two seconds for the team’s fastest recorded time, yet Grady has found a great respect for the younger runner.
“I think Andy is the perfect example of what somebody needs to be in order to be a good athlete," said Grady. "Ever since he joined the team as a freshman he's been willing to really dedicate himself to his fitness and, in doing that, he's sacrificed a ton of free time and comfort."
Grady called Page one of the most dependable and hard-working people he ever trained with and said it paid off for Page in races.
"He's a great example for the younger kids on the team because he'll joke around and have fun off the track, but once we got out there for a workout he was focused on what we needed to do to improve.
"I had a great three years running with him because we were always so close and competitive with our times, so we pushed each other hard during workouts and races. We got along really well and it was definitely always a good kind of competition. Andy's got a lot of potential as a runner and as a leader and the team is in great shape with him leading them this year,” said Grady.
Page is motivated to go out with a bang and top 49th place finish at last year's Region II meet.
“Andy is doing well but he knows that he has to improve a lot to be a contender in the post season, which is his ultimate goal,” said coach Jones.
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The Andy Page File
Family: Mom Mary is a substitute teacher for Fauquier Public Schools. Dad Rick works for the Justice Department. Brother Matthew is a sophomore at FHS.
Hobbies: "My hobbies are pretty much all athletic, I live and breathe sports."
Favorite other sport: Ultimate Frisbee.
Favorite movie: "Any of the Jurassic Park movies."
Person he would like to meet: Businessman/inventor Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and the Hyperloop transport system. "He is such a successful person and innovator."
Possible career: Project manager at research facility.
College plans: Undecided on where to go to college and running in college. "As much as I love running, I realize that I have to choose a college based on what it offers academically. If that school has a good running program that I could compete at, then I'll gladly run."
Running diet: Enjoys lean protein like grilled chicken and turkey. "Carbohydrates are also a big part of what I eat. Most importantly I eat a lot of pasta. As long you're eating the right things it's pretty much impossible to eat too much."
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