Cross country is the type of sport where athletes must run mile after mile over hills and through forests while maintaining mental focus. Some would shrink under the pressure of the sport, but these kinds of pressures do not phase recent addition to the Hawk’s Cross Country team, Nick Paolozzi.
Paolozzi is a recent 2010 graduate of nearby Arlington High School and a first-year at SUNY New Paltz. Paolozzi is one of the students who Head Coach Mike Trunkes scouted and selected to be on the team for this year.
“Nick has definitely met and exceeded expectations,” said Trunkes. “We wonder how freshmen will fit in with a team sometimes when they’re at a new level of competition. Sometimes you see them not be able to handle it, but that didn’t happen to Nick. He’s been doing very well.”
Paolizzi said he has done better than he thought he would.
“I wasn’t so sure how I would do when I got here, but I’ve been doing pretty well and I’m pretty happy with my performance this season,” said Paolozzi. “It’s been really great.”
Paolozzi said he has a lot to be proud of with his first season as a member of the Men’s Cross Country team. He was named the Male Student Athlete of the Week in late September and came in fifth out of 74 runners at the Stevens Invitational also in late September of this year.
However, Paolozzi didn’t see this as his future back when he first started cross country in middle school.
“Honestly, I was just looking for something to do. I didn’t really know what to do and I was trying to find a good place to fit in and do well and I decided to try cross country,” said Paolozzi. “I didn’t start to really like it until a little while later.”
Several years after he first started, Paolozzi would become a runner who coaches would really take note of and Trunkes was one of them. He recruited Paolozzi along with new members Dave Lukas, Terence Corrigan, Jay Marsden and Harry Collins make up what the caoch said was “the best recruiting class” the team has had in their history. Paolozzi is a runner who, with each practice, meet and tournament, has been able to impress Trunkes.
“He’s very focused when he runs,” said Trunkes. “You look at him and know that all he’s thinking about its putting out his own best every single time. It’s great to see a freshman be that focused so early on and we’re really hoping that he’ll continue to grow and improve as a future member of the team.”
A quality such as this foreshadows a promising college career in the realm of cross country, and both Paolozzi and Trunkes foresee a bright future.
“I think he’ll definitely be a leader for the team in the future,” said Trunkes. “He’s such a strong runner and he’ll be someone for future members to look up to.”
“My main goal is to make the All Conference team and have an awesome time here at the school. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most,” said Paolozzi.
With great stats to this point, it is inevitable that Paolozzi’s name will come up again in the future where the Cross Country team is concerned.