Athlete of the Week: Anoush Shehadeh ’15

Anoush Shehadeh ’15 came within a second of breaking Choate’s course record on Saturday, then succeeded in breaking the St. Paul’s course record on Wednesday, winning both races handily. In addition to her success with Andover Girls Cross Country, Shehadeh placed second in the Girls Freshman Two Mile at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals this summer. Her outstanding efforts have earned her the title of Athlete of the Week.

What was it like to compete and place second at Nationals?

Nationals was super fun. I loved traveling with my dad and staying at a hotel where you knew that everyone there was connected in some way to track and field. The clothes and backpacks we got were awesome, too. It was great to meet so many girls from across the country who all love running. Honestly, coming in second was the icing on the cake. It was definitely a learning experience about how to navigate races with a lot of talented competitors, and I hope I’ll have many more opportunities to be in races like that one.

What is your training regimen, at home and at Andover?

At Andover, I train with the team (whether track or cross country), and a typical week will usually follow the pattern of a distance day, hill workout, cross-training day (gym machine or aqua-jogging), tempo workout, easy campus run, race, off or cross train. We also incorporate strength workouts and stretching into practices. When I’m at home, I’m usually not gearing up for a race or anything, so I just run because I love it. I don’t go out with a set distance, time or route in mind, but my runs always end up being fun.

What did it feel like to break the course record at St. Paul’s? What do you credit your success to?

When I crossed the finish line, all I could think about was how cold and wet I was, and then I just kept cheering for everyone who finished after me. It didn’t really sink in until our cool down, and then I was really happy. It was especially nice after missing the Choate course record by less than a second on Saturday. This is going to sound super cheesy, but my success is probably because of my parents. They have been so supportive of me through everything.

Do you have any pre-race rituals?

I have so many pre-race rituals. I eat a green apple before every race, I wear the same sports bra, same spandex, same socks, I eat an omelet for breakfast, I bring my varsity jacket, but I never wear it until after the race, I tie my shoes the same way…this list could probably go one forever but those are the big ones. I also get really grumpy right before the race, but it only lasts until the gun goes off.

It’s almost midpoint in the season. How do you think the team has done, and what do you expect from it from this point on?

I am so excited for the rest of the season. We are a fairly young team (so far only one of our top seven is a Senior), and we had a 1-2-3 varsity sweep at St. Paul’s and a 1-2-3-4-5 JV sweep too. I think we did well on Saturday at Choate too, despite varsity not having a win. It was Choate’s fourth race and our first, so we definitely held our own. Going forward, I just hope everyone stays healthy and runs her best.

Where is your favorite place to run?

I’m not really picky as long as I’m running, but I love trails. I’ve run the trails around Holt Hill a bunch, and I hope to make it out to Harold Parker sometime this year. If I find a good trail, I can just keep running on it forever (or until it ends).

Do you listen to music when you run? If so, what’s on your playlist?

I don’t listen to music when I run, but on the bus rides to meets I like to listen to really upbeat and fast-paced music to get me ready.

Andover Girls Cross Country has a number of traditions. What’s your favorite?

I don’t know if I could pick a favorite. So far, I love everything about the team. I think every girl on the team has something to offer, and I love the long runs and campus runs where we have time to talk and get to know other people better. It’s such a great de-stresser after classes. I also love the team dinners, and I adore psychs. I love dressing up in neon or as a twin or whatever, and this year I think we have really good team spirit. Giving and getting presents to and from your secret psych [a team buddy system] is so much fun.