Foundation's Finest: A Chat with Jess Donohue and TJ Hornberger

Copake NY - We're wrapping up the 2012 Foundation season, with MileSplit NY is on-site to promote the new partnership between the two entities.  With camps ending, and school on the horizon, teams are giving the last push for summer training.  We took time to catch up with two runners here at Foundation who have been preparing for their seasons all summer long.  Jessica Donohue (North Shore) and TJ Hornberger (Lake Shore) share something else besides their schools resting on the shore's of New York States bodies of water; they both find themselves as the 2nd highest preseason ranked runners in Class B.  You can catch these rankings in our extensive pre-season coverage, with the Boys State Preview coming out tomorrow, August 18th.  And be sure to check back that Monday, to see our first ever MileSplit National Team and Individual Rankings.  But first, check out below.


MileSplit NY:  We're here talking with TJ Hornberger of Lake Shore.  Talk about this past year in xc, where you ran a great race to get 3rd at states for Class B.

TJ Hornberger:  I think it went pretty well, I definitely picked up my mileage last summer, so it was nice to see that success in season. I was doing pretty well in season, and I was really happy when I qualified for states..  When I got there, I ran well despite the conditions.  The whole experience was exciting.

MNY: Now, you're up in Section 6, which is a colder area of the state, despite last years freak temperatures.  Talk about what typical training conditions are for you, and what you prepare for.

TH:  Being in the snow belt, you really don't know what you're going to get everyday.  Things change so quickly.  Usually, you can expect it to be 40 and under come the latter half of the season, and you always have to be ready for rain or snow.

MNY:  Now what is a typical course for the area like?  What kind of terrain are we talking?

TH: I guess it is pretty average for New York State.  It's mostly flat, but there are some hills out there, which helps our training.  Our team usually  trains at Chestnut Ridge, where we have some great 1 mile loops to work off of.

MNY:  And what are some of your favorite meets that you go to every year, maybe some you even travel quite a bit for.

TH: Well, we always go to McQuaid,which is a bigger upstate invitational.  This year, we are also going to the Manhattan Invitational for the first time in a while, and that's kind of exciting.

MNY: You were young last year, running well as a sophomore.  Now you are a junior, talk about what changes are happening for you're mentality.

TH: I think I am just going to take it for what it is.  I am going to go out there and try to run my fastest, and not be bothered by expectations.  I've trained hard this summer, so I am ready to go for it.

MNY:  And what are the team dynamics like for you on Lake Shore?

TH: I am a captain for my team, but we also have a very strong young team.  Our two top guys are both going into our junior years, and then our next three are sophomores.  Our seniors do help out, but we do have a strong younger team. 

MNY:  How about your own personal goals for the season?

TH: I hope to win states this year.  It's a big goal, but I think its attainable.

MNY: How did your cross country success translate to your track seasons.

TH: I got Injured in Winter, so it hurt my all of my outdoor times when I did get to come back.  Especially in the two mile, I didn't show much progression.  My mile time improved slightly because it requires less mileage.  I think this year I just have to stay healthy, and I'll be ready for track.

MNY:  Now, we're here at Foundation Running Camp, talk about your time here, how did you find out about it?

TH: I have been having a great time, being in the fast bunk has been awesome.  All of the guys have had really good pacing and I have been able to have people to run with.  I heard about the camp from West Seneca West team that comes every year, and they have really enjoyed it as well.

MNY: And what is your favorite non-running activity at camp?

TH:  It is definitely the dance parties we have at night.  It's also really fun to hang out with our head counselor, Momo (Chris Mammone).  Everyone has been really friendly.

MNY:  Well, thanks for your time, and we look forward to seeing you out there.


Part 2

MileSplit NY:  We're here chatting with Jessica Donohue, a senior at North Shore.  You had a great team experience last year, you were on some of those big relays, talk about how that experience was for you.

Jessica Donohue: I have definitely been improving a lot, it has been nice to see the work and the mileage pay off.  It is nice to see I am getting something out of all my hard work.  I think I had a very good year last year, especially in cross country, and I hope to do even better this year.

MNY:  Now, talk about your states race, which went really well for you.

JD: We used the VVS Invitational as training opportunity in the early season, it allowed us to take a look at the course.  There was a little bump in the road in November however, with all the mud on the day of States.  It turned out to be in favor of our training, it really became a race of strength, and that was something our team training is based on.

MNY:  About your race in particular went very well, talk about how that translates over to this years cross country season?

JD: I am feeling pretty confident this year after some of my performances last year. With Sam (Nadel) and Brianna (Nerud) graduating, I want to step up and help lead my team to achieve some of the same goals as they did last year.

MNY: Now talk about that new role as senior, where do you see yourself on the team?

JD: It hasn't really sunk in yet, I still feel like a junior.  I know I have to fill some pretty big shoes, but I hope to do pretty well.  I just have to make it my own, and do my best.

MNY: Now talk about your training this summer, when did it really start for you?

JD:  immediately after we finished our spring season at States, it was kind of my last race of the year, I took some time off.  I started back up again slowly, but as soon as July hit, my mindset flipped totally to xc.

MNY:  Talk about some stuff you have been doing to prepare for the deep girls' side of the competition that is New York State.

JD: I have been doing a lot of strength training, as well as working on hills.  We focus on this year round and it works very well for me and the team.

MNY: What are some of your benchmark races, or times when you are looking to to peak? 

JD: I am looking to do well all season, and produce a steady progression through.  I know we are going to Great American, as well as the Burnt Hill Invite, and they should be some good races.

MNY:  How do you prepare for the possible snow at Elma Meadows at the State Meet, when Long Island doesn't typically get the snowfall that other areas would?

JD: I think that our strength training definitely helps us in that aspect.  Eventually, all the snow melts and then turns to mud, and we are trained to handle it.

MNY: And what about continuing from cross country to your track season?

JD:  I just want to keep improving, keep that steady improvement from cross country.  I am more of an xc person, but I am always looking to improve, especially in my 3000m races.

MNY: Now talk about your time at Foundation.  What prompted you to come here?

JD:  My coach is one of the head coaches here, so we have been coming for a while.  I had gone last year, and I really enjoyed my time here, so I decided to come back this year.  It is always fun, and we get in some great training while we are here/

MNY:  How does your training here at Foundation differ from the the stuff you would normally do back home?

JD:  I mean, it is a little different.  We've thrown in a few more tempos here for variety, but other than that, we do some of the same kinds of things.

MNY:  How is it running with girls not on your team, but you get to spend so much time with in your bunk.

JD: I like all the of the girls I am with, its like a sub-team, we mesh pretty well

MNY:  And what other activities do you enjoy here other than the running.

JD:  I am really into Zumba dancing, its like my go-to break out.

MNY:  Thanks again for you're time, and we'll see you out there this fall.