Name: Will Shaughnessy
School:Brunswick High School
What was your most memorable race/meet?
I would have to say my home XC meet senior year. It was my first home meet ever and so many people showed up to cheer, the meet just had such an awesome energy. I just went for it from the gun and the crowd pushed me along. It was essentially a time trial on a very fast course over our athletic fields but when my teammate Aiden Simmons told me I had run 15:13 for 5k it was just surreal. It was then that I realized how much I had improved from the previous year.
Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
Hands down my man Lisandro. I've been chasing that guy since 8th grade and he has become such a good friend of mine. Finally beating him at KVAC's in the mile this past indoor season is a very close second to my most memorable race. But seriously, I would not be the runner I am today without him. Chasing him for so many years pushed me past my limits and allowed me to unlock my full potential. It's a shame we won't have one more season to duke it out a few more times, but maybe we'll have an opportunity in the next 4 years.
What was your greatest accomplishment?
I would say finishing 6th at the New England XC championship. My goal for that race was to be in top 15, but I ended up just following Lisandro's red singlet and at 2 miles I was in contact with the leaders, which was not a place I had expected to be. I poured my heart into that last 400 meters up the muddy hill and was shocked to see my time on the clock. I have never felt more exhausted after a race and it was worth every painful minute.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your xc/track&field career in high school?
I am one of those people who believes everything happens for a reason, so I wouldn't change much. I think if I had to change something I would tell my younger self to dream bigger and not feel confined to certain times. I was always striving to be one of the best in Maine and it wasn't until later that I decided I wanted to be more, to be one of the best in the Northeast and maybe even the country. It was breaking through those mental barriers that allowed me to realize my full potential.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
Towards the end of my freshman outdoor season I got a stress fracture in my foot and all of sophomore year dealt with a never ending series of injuries, namely a case of shin splints that lasted for 6 months. Once I was able to get healthy and start stringing together some consistent training weeks I was able to start making some jumps.
What will you miss the most?
I'll definitely miss my teammates as well as friends from other teams around the state. The Maine running community is so tight, and I'll miss being a part of that.
What advice you would give to younger athletes?
Like I said earlier, don't be afraid to dream big. Not just to yourself, but out loud. Tell others your crazy goals. They'll call you cocky but screw the haters, prove them wrong. Write down your goals and hang them up somewhere you'll see them everyday. If you're not achieving your goals, don't just work harder, work smarter. Figure out your weaknesses and make them strengths. Most of all, consistency is key. You may not be making improvements for one or maybe even a couple of years, but if you put in consistent miles every day for many weeks at a time, you WILL improve. Keep grinding.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
Coach Dearing has been one of the most influential figures in my life. He coached me all through middle school, and for my final two years of high school. He is so knowledgeable about our sport and has always given me the best advice. Whenever I had a bad race, Coach Dearing was there to pick me back up with a rousing speech. Whenever I had a great race, Coach Dearing was there, excited as ever. Seeing him running up the hill to the finish after XC New England's smiling ear to ear will always be one of fondest memories of high school. He has taught me so much and I am eternally grateful for everything he has done for me and for the team.
How do you feel about missing your senior season due to the coronavirus?
Obviously I am bummed, but I have so much to be grateful for. In my final track season this winter, I was able to break two school records, finish all-New England, qualify for nationals in multiple events, and help my team finish 2nd at states, our first podium finish in 10 years. My last two seasons went better than I could have ever hoped before this year, and I have no regrets.
What are your college plans?
I am thrilled to be running XC and track at the University of Pennsylvania! Roll Quakers!!
Who would you like to say thank you to?
So many people. Thank you to my teammates for being such awesome training partners and such awesome people to be able to see every day. Thank you to my girlfriend Maddie for always supporting me and being one of my idols. Thank you to my competitors for pushing me to be the best that I could be. Thank you to my coaches for all their hard work and sacrifice for the team. Thank you to my parents for always being the loudest cheerers, especially my mom, and thank you to her for always giving me a hug after my races(always hug your mom). And thank you to anyone who ever cheered for me in any race. I heard you, and it was always appreciated.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Don't forget to smile in races, remember you're doing it for fun.