Captain Alex Fleury ’20 has been an integral part of the Andover Boys Cross Country team since his Junior year. Now Team Captain, he strives to be a positive role model for all members of the team and to set a motivational and welcoming team dynamic.
According to Fleury, he aims to reflect similar values of inclusion and dedication that past captains have exemplified.
“When I was a [Junior], the captain was Holden Ringer [’17], and then last year was Giacomo Marino [’18], and both of these people were great captains. They welcomed me into the team really well both years. They were really big role models; they were very fast runners; very dedicated,” said Fleury.
He continued, “This work ethic that they exemplified when they were captains pushes me to do the same as a captain, because I had a really good experience when I was the young student who wasn’t going into the team very experienced. For all the young students on the team now, I want to do the same for them because I know it worked out really well for me. These captains were great captains, and doing the same for the kids below me is repaying the favor that they’ve done.”
According to teammate Riley Gillis ’19, Fleury’s skill and kindness motivate his teammates.
Gillis wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “What makes Alex such a great captain is his incredibly impressive position on the team, as well as the clear hardwork and determination it took for him to occupy the top spot on the team in only his Upper year. He sets the standard for his many skilled Upper peers and those joining the boys cross country team for the first time. He is definitely the most down-to-earth captain I have had in my three years on the team, which is great since I think this team can definitely benefit from his amazing sportsmanship and encouraging humility.”
In addition to cross country, Fleury runs indoor and outdoor track and has been a tri-varsity athlete since his Junior year. During the winter and spring of his Junior year, he attended New Balance Nationals for the Ninth Grade Mile and received the title of Freshman All-American. Fleury’s determination and ability to concentrate before races allow him to be successful, according to teammate Anthony Minickiello ’20.
Minickiello said, “He’s a concentrated runner because he really gets in the zone before the race. At the start, he separates himself and goes where he needs to be immediately. He doesn’t hold anything back at the start, not even a little bit. He’s willing to push himself, maybe even a little too hard in the beginning… That sort of concentration is what allowed him to get where he needed to be.”
Fleury’s encouragement of younger runners and overall humility allow him to motivate and connect with runners of all experiences and ages, according to new team member Sam Capobianco ’21 and Minickiello.
“With the less experienced runners, Alex is obviously very welcoming and understanding of them. He tries to just make sure that they are trying their best, and that is all they can do. He makes sure they know they are contributing to the team. He’s a very good leader, and I think the less experienced runners see that in him, that they are welcomed and that they are motivated by him. The standards he sets are very useful and not too high, but he obviously just wants us to do our best and not try to go out too fast. He just wants us to improve throughout the season,” said Capobianco.
Minickiello added, “I think he’s really good at leading the underclassmen. He’s not a Senior, so he can relate more to the younger classmen than a Senior can. He’s good at talking with them about what they’re going through because he’s been there. He’s been here since [Junior] Year. He has a great sense of humor. He’s really funny and really fun to be around. He’s not dead serious all the team. He’s not a captain that holds himself as high and mighty over us. He treats himself as one of our own.”
According to Fleury, some of his team goals for the season include winning another New England Prep School Division I Cross Country Championship (Interschols) and making sure that every runner has fun and works hard.
“I hope that after this season, the people who do cross country walk out of the sport having a love for the sport and having had a successful season [and continue] practicing all the values that we cherish on this team, like respect, having a good time while we’re running, and at the same time, being focused and dedicated, which I hope translates to other things… I hope that everybody stays happy and healthy, works hard, has fun while they’re doing the sport,” said Fleury.
Fleury continued, “As for the team as a whole, I hope that we win Interschols, obviously — that’s the goal. We did it last season, and we were very strong last season. We’re very strong this season, and I think that we have a very good chance of taking home the title once again this year. It’s going to take a lot of work, and we have our work cut out for us, but [Head Coach Jeff Domina] is a great coach — he knows exactly how to schedule the workouts for us. I think that he, in combination with all of dedication and focus mindset that I hope I can help this team thrive in, will lead us to a great Interschols race and, hopefully, a victory.”