A new Lower from North Reading, Mass., Sam Capobianco ’21 has been competing in 5K runs since he was six years old and completed his first half marathon at age 12. He arrived at Andover already an accomplished runner, having qualified for the Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships in both 2015 and 2016. In 2015, Capobianco traveled to Albuquerque, N. Mex. to compete in the championships, where he placed in the top 50. Through just two meets so far in the young season, Capobianco already sees improvement in himself and the team.
Was cross country one of the main reasons you decided to come to Andover?
Yes, the cross country team is obviously very strong here, and the coach seemed really nice. I actually went to spectate one of their meets, and they seemed like a really good team. I thought it would be a really good fit for me.
What are some of your personal goals for the season?
Personally, I would like to break 17 minutes on a 5K course. I ended off last season with 17:15, and I feel like  is a very accomplishable goal for me this season.
What about in the next couple of years?
In the next couple of years, I’d obviously want to become a better runner, and raise more to the top of the race with some of the fastest runners in the league. Hopefully, that means even breaking 16 in my Senior year, but we’ll find out.
What do you think your team can accomplish this season?
The team is obviously very strong, and we’re improving each meet. I think that we could accomplish maybe even league title if we put our best effort into it, and keep improving the way we are.
Do you feel like you’ve personally improved so far as this season has gone along?
Yes, I do think I’ve improved. I came off an injury over the summer, and I’ve just been working to get back to the point where I was at the end of last season. I’ve taken a minute off my time since the beginning of the season in early September.
Do you also feel that your team has improved so far this season?
I do think the team has improved. We’ve only had two meets, but we placed fourth out of five at the Northfield Mount Hermon Invitational, but at Choate yesterday, we beat them by a sizable amount. I think we are improving a lot more and will still improve to beat other teams in the league.
Do you ever get really tired during a race, or just want to stop?
Yesterday at Choate, there was a big hill coming up to the water tower just before mile two. I was dying, and I thought I was just gonna walk, but Jacob Buehler [’19] helped me get up the hill, we were both pushing each other. After we got up that hill, we absolutely crushed the second and third mile and finished out the race strong.
So is it your teammates that keep you going when you get really tired?
Yeah, my teammates are a real help, they’re very supportive, we all take turns taking leads, pushing each other and motivating each other during the race, and that all leads to a great team.
Did you compete on a cross country team prior to coming to Andover?
I did. My freshman year at North Reading High School, I ran cross country for them, and it was a lot of fun. I was actually the fastest runner on North Reading, and that was part of the reason I came here, for more competition and a better environment for me to run in and for me to grow as a runner.
How has cross country challenged you so far?
Cross country has challenged be both physically and mentally. Physically, I’m trying to break barriers, push myself to the limits, get under 17 minutes. Mentally, it’s obviously how far are you willing to go to break this time? How far are you willing to push yourself to break this time?
Editor’s Note: Jacob Buehler is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.