Annika Gompers may be the best cross country runner you have never heard of. Her times place her among the state's elite, but the small private school she attends does not participate in the MIAA Championships. Gompers attends Gann Academy in Waltham and competes in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference in cross country. Unfortunately, the school does not have a formal track program. Despite the limitations, she has found plenty of competitive opportunities to develop her running while competing for the Waltham Track Club. In 2010 she posted a sub 18 minute 3 mile performance to win her league cross country championship, and then carried that momentum to the track where she scorched a 4:41.07 1500m at the New Balance Twilight Meet.
Gompers may come from a small school with a small program, but her goals are anything but. If 2010 is any indication, the dedicated sophomore should find herself in the thick of things at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Championships with a chance to advance. MileSplitMass had the opportunity to catch-up with the prep school star to see how her summer training was unfolding.
Best times in a 5K and 3 Mile race?
Many of the cross country courses in my league are 3 miles instead of 5K, and my best time was in the league championship. I won with a time of 17:54, which was a course record for both boys and girls (my league is co-ed).
Tell us how your training is going?
I go to a sleep away camp for 2 months during the summer, so I just keep up a base and start my serious training once the season starts.
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
My goals for this season are for my school team to win our league championship again, and for me to make it to Foot Locker nationals.
How long have you been running and how did you get started?
I started seriously in 7th grade with the Waltham Track Club. Both of my parents are runners, and when I found this great team I got into the sport.
Will you be competing out of state this season?
For my out of state races this season, I will at least be running in New York for the Foot Locker Northeast Regional, and hopefully I'll make it to San Diego for Nationals!
Favorite course to run in Massachusetts?
I haven't run many courses, especially in just Massachusetts, so I can't really say that I have a favorite. Each race is a new experience, and I just run it and adapt to the course without really thinking about whether I like it or not. However, I have run one very tough course, but it was not in Massachusetts. USATF Junior Olympic Nationals this past year were in Alabama, and the 4K course was mostly gravel/sand, which was really difficult to run on.
Favorite cross country race?
My favorite cross-country race in my high school career (I've only had one year of it!) was my league championship last year. It was at my home course so a lot of my teachers and classmates were out there cheering for me and my team, and I had a really great race.
Favorite Cross Country memory?
USATF Junior Olympic Nationals this past year was my favorite cross country memory. I made All American, which was a big goal of mine, and going to Alabama with my whole team was so much fun.
When you are not running what is your favorite thing to do?
When I'm not running I love spending time with friends - walking around Boston, watching a movie, or just hanging out.I also play violin and lacrosse.
My school's girls basketball team made shirts with a quote on them that I really like: "Never underestimate the heart of a champion." - Rudy Tomjanovich.