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Interview: Rosa Moriello, Newly Minted Team USA Member

Bio

Name: Rosa Moriello
Age: 24
Current Residence: Brighton, MA
High School: Naugatuck (CT) High School, 2010
College: Boston University, 2015
Club: The Heartbreakers

Personal Records:

  • 1500m – 4:25
  • 3000m – 9:19
  • 5000m – 16:03
  • 5k road – 16:20
  • 6k XC – 20:00
  • 4 mile – 21:34
  • 10k road – 34:11

Career highlights:

  • 2014 NCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field Championships 5000m – 18th
  • 2014 NCAA DI XC Championships  – 87th
  • 2016 USATF-NE XC Championships – 3rd
  • 2016 USATF Club XC Championships – 10th

 

First off, congratulations on your awesome performance at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships! Top 10 at that meet is no joke. Tell us how the race played out for you.

This was an interesting race. I knew we would be out fast and that I needed to settle in soon after the first mile. I went out in about 5:10, which is about 15 seconds faster than usual. From the start, I tried to hang onto the top group. I made it almost 2 miles before they really started to pull away. There was a smaller group of us trying our best to keep up. A bit over 2 miles in, I found myself alone. There were girls close behind but the top group was just far enough that I wasn’t sure I could catch up. Not too long before we hit the 5k mark, 2 of the girls dropped off the front pack and I knew that was my opportunity to go. I pushed hard for that last .6mi to catch them. Right when I did, it was time for the kick. I didn’t have it that day but was excited and shocked at my time and placement. It was one of those rare times as a runner where you finish and think “I’m 100% satisfied with my race”. (Full results here)

Rosa pictured (far right) with the other Top 10 finishers at the award ceremony.

 

A few hours after the race, you found out you had been selected to represent Team USA at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country Run in Scotland on January 7, 2017. Can you tell us a bit about that race and how it feels to be representing the United States in international competition for the first time?

The Great Edinburgh Cross Country Run is a small international competition between the USA, UK, and Europe. The race is hosted at the same park in Scotland each year. There are 9 women on Team USA’s senior team who will complete a 6k course.

I still can’t really wrap my head around this. I was so shocked to have even finished 10th, so you can imagine how crazy it seemed to be selected for this team. From the start of my running career, I always imagined that maybe one day I would be fast enough to earn a USA kit. I quickly learned that there are some seriously fast people out there and I was not quite one of them. Over time, that hope quieted down to a small thought in the very back of my mind. As we got closer to this race, though, the idea of making the team kept coming back to the top of my mind. I knew that this race could be that one chance I would get to compete in the kit. For it to have actually happened…there are no words.

 

Of the 9 women who have been selected to represent Team USA in the Senior Women’s 6k race, 5 are from the New England area, and 4 are based right here in Boston (yourself, 3 BAA, and 1 NE Distance Project). How excited are you to compete with your fellow New Englanders, and how does it feel to be at the forefront of the recent emergence of Boston as a distance-running powerhouse?

I think a lot of us associate high performance distance running with the west: Portland, Seattle, Flagstaff, anywhere in California. To see that most of this team is from New England is really cool! New England is a pretty small area compared to the other powerhouses of running. To be able to have this many New Englanders compete in a USA kit says a lot about how much this sport is growing in the area. We always joke that Brighton is the new Flagstaff and I think that’s becoming less of a joke and more of a reality – maybe less “new” and more “the east coast Flagstaff”. It’s really exciting to be part of this growing love for competitive running. Being from New England, it’s nice to know that I don’t have to be too far from home to compete at the level I want to. We have world class athletes an hour drive in every direction!

Official 6k Senior Women roster selections as posted on the USATF website.

 

As Americans, we’ve often been told by our international teammates and competitors that our version of cross country is ‘fake’ (i.e. done on pancake-flat and pristinely manicured courses). What are your expectations for running a true European style cross country race on a course that is hilly, typically very muddy, and historically has required runners to leap over creeks and log barriers?

For this race, I’m expecting the exact opposite of the Club Nationals race. I think this race will be more about mental strength than anything else. Everyone out there will be a top runner. These types of races, with all different course challenges, not only get to test fitness but mental strength as well – who can push themselves the best to finish well in these tough conditions. I think it will be one of those “don’t look at your watch, just focus on your position and finish tough” types of races. I won’t expect anything fast, just a really good challenge.

 

Aside from the race, what are you most looking forward to about your trip?

This will be my first time out of the country, so I’m just really excited to explore a new culture!

 

Once you are stateside again, what are your plans for the upcoming winter/spring season and 2017 as a whole?

My 2017 plan so far only goes up to March. My big goal race will be over St. Patrick’s Day weekend – my very first half marathon. I don’t have too many expectations for this as of right now aside from just finishing. I will most likely run a track 5k as a tune up before the half in hopes of finally cracking that 16:00 barrier. After the half, I plan on taking some down time before turning my focus back to the 5k/10k on the track and roads. I’m excited to see what this year will bring!

 

To follow Rosa as she takes on Edinburgh and beyond, check her out on Strava (Rosa Moriello) and Instagram (@rosamoriello)!