Chemic Junior Tyler Pritchett has been tearing up Mid-Michigan cross country courses this season. He has emerged as a top contender in the Saginaw Valley League and Region and has not finished below 4th place in any race to this point.
1st Place finishes
SVL Jamboree #1 @ Stratford Park
SVL Jamboree #2 @ Mt. Pleasant
DeWitt Invitational (set lifetime personal best 16:08)
Heritage Invitational (re-set his lifetime personal best 16:06)
2nd Place finish
3rd Place finishes
Al Kayner Invite @ Delta College
Lancer Invite @ Stratford Park
Tyler also can be found playing #3 singles for the Varsity Tennis team, Forward for the Varsity Hockey team, and runs for the Chemic Track team.
The Chemics.net staff sat down with Tyler to pick his brain about his Cross Country season so far.
See the Q&A below.
Q1: To what do you attribute your break-out XC season this year?
TP: I think the success I’ve been experiencing this year is a combination of the coaches like Coach Plude, Coach Hollenbeck, and Mrs. Coach (Mrs. Hollenbeck) who have really helped guide me along the way as well as my teammates who are always supportive, cheering me on and pushing me to be my best. In addition, being consistent in training is important because I know to keep improving I have to keep working hard and pushing myself during the offseason as well as during practices.
Q2. You have competed and excelled on some different courses this season. How do you prepare for the nuances of each course? Which is your favorite course/race on the schedule?
TP: All the different courses we run at throughout the season present different challenges and I think having experience running on most of them over the past two years and even some of the same courses in middle school helps a lot and jogging the course before the race also helps a lot because then you’re more familiar with things like when to speed up or where a big hill might be and just being overall familiar with the course. My favorite course personally is the 5k course at Delta College during regionals due to the familiarity I have running on that course and it is a faster course so it brings fast times.
Q3: XC has both individual and team aspects. How do you prepare to run your race AND be a good teammate?
TP: The great thing about cross country is it combines team aspects and individual aspects because I get to run my race and focus on things that I need to improve on like individual placing, but I can also accept advice from my teammates who want me to excel and I can give advice to my teammates and cheer them on to help our team place better.
Q4: MHS has had some top male XC runners in the past 10 years. (SVL Champ Conor Legge most recently.) Do you feel any pressure to uphold a tradition? Does Coach talk about it? What do they have in common?
TP: The success that MHS has had in cross country has been shown with runners like Connor Legge who even helped me in middle school because the MHS Track team would come to the Northeast meets and they would give me advice and my oldest brother was good friends with Connor so he personally gave me advice and I was able to watch his success and have something to strive towards. I wouldn’t say I feel pressure to uphold tradition, but I do want to work my hardest so that I can be apart of this phenomenal tradition of runners. Coach doesn’t talk about pressure to uphold tradition but rather motivates me to get better and always compliments what I am doing and positively pushes me forwards. I think all these great athletes that have run for MHS worked hard for what they accomplished and they all were unselfish and cared about their teammates and listened to the coaches’ advice.
Q5: You play other sports at MHS. How is XC similar and different from tennis & hockey.
TP: Cross country is a very unique sport, because right from the start we have camp in Traverse City which builds a family like bond that connects teammates throughout the season. The work ethic in Cross country, Tennis, Hockey, and Track are all the same because everybody wants to excel and achieve great things so the whole team works hard to achieve goals they may have.
Q6: What is going through your mind when running 2.6 miles? Do you break up the race into segments?
TP: When racing 3.1 miles, it’s important to have a strategy going into the race which the coaches help me with so that I don’t go into the race blind and I have a plan to execute. Some races are different than others because sometimes I’m going for a good time and probably want to have the race split up into times that I should be at each mile, other times I’m racing for the win and might go out more conservative so I can push the back half of the race, but the most important thing for me is staying focused on what I want to do and how I’m going execute.
Q7: What are some things you feel you need to work on to compete at the state level?
TP: Competing at the state level is a goal of mine and I hope to be there in the coming weeks. I think to truly compete at that high level I’ll have to keep training hard throughout the season and become stronger so that I can stay with the top guys and be prepared to push myself out of my comfort zone.