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GUS Alum Tristan Shelgren State Champion

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Photo by George Rizer for the Boston Globe.

UPDATE, 11/21 - "Prep senior Shelgren wins Foot Locker Northeast title, ​makes nationals"

Tristan Shelgren ’14 won the boys’ All State cross country championship on Saturday in Wrentham by 22 seconds, running a 15:15 in the 5K. Andrew Mah of Newton was second in 15:37. Tristan’s first cross country coach was John Barbour, here at GUS. John, who coaches Ursuline Academy, was at the meet, and this is his firsthand report from Wrentham.

Well, I don't know what race the Globe folks were watching, but a 20-second margin doesn't exactly qualify as a finishing kick. Tristan made mincemeat of a superb field. Here’s my take. A few of us coaches thought that Ryan Oosting (Arlington) had been holding back all season, running just fast enough to win races, and that he had a very good chance of sticking to Tristan and Andrew Mah (Newton) and outkicking them—he has outstanding speed. And on the fist loop around that’s what it looked like; Mah took it out hard, apparently deciding that between Tristan’s late-race strength and Ryan’s finishing speed his best hope was to get away early and stay away. I thought that strategy unlikely to work, and when they went by me about 1000m in I thought, well it won’t be Mah today. Tristan was about 10 yards back with Oosting on his shoulder and, boy, did Ryan look smooth and easy.

A mile later, when they came by the second time, Mah had come back to Tristan and Oosting was falling back from both and did not look comfortable, quite a surprise. The next time they came by me was with about 600m left, and by then Tristan had completely broken Mah while Oosting was fading, being passed by other runners and really struggling. Tristan’s lead was at least 15 seconds at that point, so he hardly “kicked away.”

I thought that Tristan executed his race to perfection. He doesn’t have Oosting’s finishing speed but can run a great last mile off a hard pace that others can’t match. That reminds me of no one so much as Steve Prefontaine, speaking as one who saw Pre race a few times. Next time Tristan comes by GUS you can tell him I said that. I had a chance to give him a quick pre-race fist-bump but wasn’t able to catch up afterwards. Tristan can just break it open when others are feeling the effort.