Name: Mark D'Alessandro
School: St. Dominic Academy
What was your most memorable race/meet?
My most memorable race would have to be the XC state meet my junior year where I placed 2nd. I felt amazing from start to finish and it felt even better to accomplish a goal I had from that summer to place top 5 at states. It was also a race that really built my confidence and reassured me that when the work is done you can accomplish your goals.
Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
Will Perkins, Henry Spritz, Alfie Walker, Luke Bartol, and David Schlotterbeck.
What was your greatest accomplishment?
Placing 2nd at states my junior year of cross-country
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your xc/track&field career in high school?
There's not much I would change, especially in that I think the obstacles I encountered benefited me as time went on, but I would've tried to not overthink and stress as much this past XC season.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
Getting injured last outdoor season was difficult, I had minor injuries before, but I never had an injury that caused me to miss an extended amount of time. I ended up only being able to run one meet early in the season and it was difficult mentally as well seeing all my friends and teammates practicing and competing when I was stuck on the sidelines.
While that injury was frustrating, nothing really compared to the mental blocks I faced this past fall during xc. I felt outside pressure and put a lot of pressure on myself to win the state championship. I wasn't having fun anymore, running solely to win rather than for the joy and experience of competing. I was overthinking racing and training, and I was in my head way too much. My performances went downhill throughout the season, ultimately ending in a disastrous state meet.
What will you miss the most?
The inside jokes, crazy conversations and rituals with the St. Dom's boys.
What advice would you give to younger athletes?
It's ok when things don't go the way you hoped. It's ok if you miss time with an injury, have a bad race, or even a bad season. You'll learn a lot about yourself through your setbacks rather than your successes. A lot of runners want everything to go perfectly and the thing with running is that it rarely will go perfectly. As much as it may hurt losing a championship or watching your teammates while you're sidelined you'll come out a lot stronger and learn a lot more about yourself than if things went to plan.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
Josh and Krista Brown, TJ Niles, Dan Campbell, and my Nordic-ski coach, Dustin Williamson have all been amazing coaches. All have never failed to believe in me even when I was lacking confidence, stood by my side as I set goals and gave me the tools to accomplish them. I can't thank them enough for their impact in my running and in my life.
How do you feel about missing your senior season due to the coronavirus?
It's frustrating that I missed my junior year of outdoor and now I'm missing my senior year as well. I really wanted to redeem myself after this past XC season and break our school records this spring. While there are always going to be other seasons and races, it's hard knowing I'm never going to have another bus ride, huddle, warm-up, practice, or meet again with my teammates.
What are your college plans?
I'll be attending Union College where I'll be studying mechanical engineering and running on the track and XC teams.
Who would you like to say thank you to?
I want to thank my family for all the love, support, driving hours back and forth to watch me race, and all the countless things they've done for me. The St. Dom's team for all the memories and times I had to stop running because they got me laughing so hard. The Leavitt Nordic Ski team for being my second family. Roy Varney for showing me what it is to be a true champion. Will Perkins for being an amazing friend and competitor. Troy Hendricks for inspiring and pushing me early in my career. And all of the people I've met and have made friendships with through the Maine running community, you've all been amazing.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Run fast next year Liam
To the St. Dom's boys: Yeet