Salute to Seniors: Griffin Maristany (Mt Desert Island)

Name: Griffin Maristany

School: Mount Desert Island High School

What was your most memorable race/moment?

Since my freshman year I've always said that the greatest race of any meet is the 4x400 meter relay. I've been lucky enough to have many amazing relay members such as Josh Bloom, Noah Hutchinson, Jose Chumbe, Billy Kerly, and Owen Mild, who all had phenomenal open 400 times Any combination of these athletes could make a potent 4x400 meter relay. I've had many incredible 4x400 meter relay races in my career including being 2X PVC champions (2017, 2018) and 2X State Champions (2017, 2018) in the event, but I must say the race I will never forget was New England's 2017 when our 4x400 ran 3:28.76. This race is one I can recount perfectly in my mind. Owen Mild running a blazing 51 second split (an easy 2 second PR) and handing off to Noah Hutchinson, then to Josh Bloom, and finally to me where I got bumped almost off the track, only to hurdle over a fallen 3rd leg in front of me. As I crossed the finish line and saw everyone's sweaty and tired faces giving every ounce of joy they could muster, I knew we had done something spectacular.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

I been able to cultivate many friendships with some of the greatest athletes Maine has seen in recent years. Many of these friendships have been with some of my fiercest competitors who show up every meet ready to race. These athletes include Steven Fitzpatrick, Bendrix Gerling, Ben Cotton, James Peterson. This year was extremely strong in sprinting and these athletes at every PVC meet made sure that I had to lean at every finish line. I also cannot forget my roots with previous MDIHS greats such as Ralph Magnani and Ryan Bender who set the standards my freshman year for what I needed to achieve throughout high school. While all of these athletes have affected me profoundly, my greatest competitor in my high school career was Owen Mild. Owen has been my teammate for the last two years and he made a miraculous jump in times in both the 400 meter dash and the 200 meter dash, running about 6 and 2 seconds faster respectively since his first race two years ago. He set the standard for me in practice because every time we got on the line for repeats his mentality was to beat me and my mentality was to beat him. This created supposedly 80% workouts to be 100% workouts. If he was eating a salad at lunch, I had to eat a salad at lunch. If he was getting 8 hours of sleep every night, I had to get 8 hours of sleep every night. Our fierce competition drove us to greatness because we refused to lose to one another. He taught me that being the greatest competitor isn't about winning, it's about refusing to lose.

What was your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishments in track and field were the two team state titles I was able to bring home to MDI. The first being in Indoor 2017 and then later in Outdoor 2018. Both of these titles were the first time in MDI's track and field history for Indoor and Outdoor. It is always extremely honoring to be the first to do something and it is an incredible moment to share with the team which you have grinded with the entire season. The same people you sweat, bleed, cried with, are the same people that are grinning until their cheeks hurt on top of the podium. These are the moments where hard work pays off and it has allowed me
to create a legacy at MDI.

If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?

I would learn when it is time to rest. All throughout my high school career I've always had my nose to the grindstone, but when I got hurt, I struggled to sit down and let myself recover. By me neglecting my injury, I usually exacerbated the problem. This caused a hamstring injury which occurred in January 2016 (my sophomore year) to prolong for the rest of the year. Injuries can either be short or very long term. In a sport where hundredths of seconds are the difference in placing or not, it is crucial to be in peak performance at all times. Being 75% healthy never produces results, so I would have told myself to wait until I could give my best.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

Injuries were brutal. My hamstrings were my least favorite fan of track. I've had more hamstring injuries than I can count and my junior year (2017) was when I learned that I needed to take an extra 15-20 minutes before practice to truly stretch myself out.

What will you miss the most?

I'll miss the hours we accumulated over weeks of practices where we threw tennis balls which had found their way on the track from the adjacent tennis courts, at the fence enclosing the track in an attempt to get them lodged into the fence. The game is much harder than it appears yet our Coach's son, Tyson Long, became incredibly amazing at it. I mean this kid could even kick the ball and get this round tennis ball to fit snugly into the square fence hole with ease.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

The key to success is in these three words: tall, toned, and tanned

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

I have had many great coaches including Aaron Long, Ezra Hallett, Brian O'Connell, Brad Witham, and Caleb Roebuck. What made of my coaches so phenomenal was that I was friends with all of them. Each of these guys are invited to my funeral or wedding, whichever may come first. I'd like to say a piece about each of them:

   Aaron Long was my outdoor head coach and sprinting coach since 2016 (my sophomore year). I don't even know what to say about this man. The bearded wonder. He has transformed me as an athlete. He expects success because he knows he can coach it. Fortunately, he's right. Unfortunately, we all have to hear about it forever. He is the track guru and can predict athletes futures because he can mold them into whatever creation he chooses. He's quite the artist for a lefty...

Ezra Hallett was our throws coach and also our powerlifting coach. Whenever he entered the weight room it was expected that an extra plate be put on any bar you were lifting. He promoted strength and power. He pioneered a throwing team which became arguably the strongest and deepest throwing team in the state of Maine this year. He encourages greatness and never accepts anything less.

   Brian O'Connell was our throws coach and our aesthetics coach. For many, practice ended at 4:30. For a select few, (Croix Albee, Colby Lee, and Owen Mild) this was when bodybuilding practice began. Outdoor track coincides with bodybuilding season, so it was very important we did not neglect the superficial muscles. Brian was there every sunny day to partake in a filthy ab session or crush biceps until we were all stiff armed and could only eat through a straw. It was here were we learned many life lessons such as: a tan makes you look 35% stronger and 80% more defined, eating 8 grams of protein the night before results in a extreme performance boost, and citrulline has many life benefits. Brian was extremely influential in binding our social lifes with our athletic lives, making track so much more enjoyable.

    Brad Witham was the outdoor head coach in 2015 (my freshman year) and the indoor head coach for the entirety of my high school career. He is one of the most supporting and encouraging people I have ever met in my life. His priority isn't results, but effort. If you have a poor race, he will be the first to sit down with you and ask what happened and talk about how to remediate it, while if you had a good race he will be the first one to run up and hug you. This encouraging environment has allowed me to flourish as an athlete because at the end of the day he always cared.  

    Caleb Roebuck or better known as Granola Coach was my indoor and outdoor coach for 2017 (my junior year). He coined the infamous name Granola Coach because during indoor, for the life of me, I couldn't remember his name. To describe him to others I would always just call him Granola Coach. A picture would do better justice:

Nuff said... It all reality he was extremely encouraging in the sense that he was never satisfied in what had been achieved, only in what can be achieved. He also made some granola for our 2017 Indoor State Meet which our win can be entirely attributed to.

Bonus: Natt Hinckley coached my outdoor my freshman year (2015). His arms were absolute cannons, his abs were literal washboards, his legs looked like a foundation to a mansion. To this day you are still my idol.

What are your college plans?

I was recruited by Wesleyan University to continue competing in Track & Field. At Wesleyan I aim to double major economics and philosophy.

Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

I would not be the athlete I am without the coaching staff at MDI. Aaron Long, Brad Witham, Caleb Roebuck, Brian O'Connell, and Ezra Hallett, are attributed with 50% of the credit for all the success I've had in track & field. The other 50% goes to the athletes who I was lucky enough to have on my team. Croix Albee, Micah Hallett, Owen Mild, Billy Kerly, Jose Chumbe, Colby Lee, Elijah Joyce, Josh Bloom, Noah Hutchinson, Ryan Bender, Ralph Magnani and many others. Thank you for making track & field so enjoyable these last four years and if it weren't for you guys I wouldn't have done it.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Fact: Return of the Mack is the greatest song of the 20th century.

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