Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Sports Person of the Week

Running Brings Out Opramolla’s Competitive Side


Jack Opramolla is the top runner on the North Haven boys’ cross country team this year. Jack, a junior, recorded a personal-best time of 18:29 earlier this season. Photo courtesy of Jack Opramolla

Jack Opramolla is the top runner on the North Haven boys’ cross country team this year. Jack, a junior, recorded a personal-best time of 18:29 earlier this season. (Photo courtesy of Jack Opramolla)

Jack Opramolla has been running for North Haven’s cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track squads since his freshman year at the high school. Being part of these three teams has brought out Jack’s competitive side, and he’s glad he decided to join the Indians’ family of runners.

“It’s great. I’m so happy I took it up. For me, it’s not about the health. It’s about how I can show off my competitiveness and show how great I am on the course or the track,” says Jack. “I owe it to my coaches. They pound it in. The work and effort you put in will pay off. It’s fed into me. The drive to always put in your best work and effort has paid off for me, and I thank my coaches so much for that.”

North Haven cross country Head Coach Carl Jackson has seen all the hard work that Jack puts into his craft. As a result of his effort, Jack runs at the front of the Indians’ pack and dropped his career-best time to 18 minutes and 29 seconds this year.

“Jack has worked really hard from the beginning of the summer. He starts getting ready for the season and, as the season goes on, it was continuing hard work every day just trying to improve himself. He’s done quite a lot this season to get himself not only in shape, but in a position to contribute to the team to give the team every opportunity to succeed,” Coach Jackson says. “What he does in my estimation is he takes advice well and he always speaks out on what he can do to get that much better. A lot of athletes work hard, but he is determined to make himself the top runner on the team.”

Jack not only puts in the work when he’s with his North Haven teammates, he’s also a devoted runner outside of practice.

“A lot of athletes don’t like to run, but I like it, because you can put in the work. It’s not the most fun, but you can see the results based on how much work you do for yourself,” says Jack. “Even though some days we don’t have practice, I’ll go on my own runs. Before meets, I take the coach’s words and trust he knows what he’s talking about and put that into my own running. It pays off.”

Jack doesn’t necessarily have a favorite sport among the three seasons, although he says that he likes navigating the hilly terrains that come with cross country.

“I like hills, because that’s the best way to push yourself. Other runners hate hills, but I enjoy them, because I know in my mind that if I work up the hills, I can run them into the ground,” Jack says. “I feel I just work harder. That’s why every race I want to put in the most effort and use it to my advantage.”

Jack competes in the 400, 800, and the 1,600 as a member of North Haven’s track program. It’s a different experience than running cross country, but Jack takes the same studious approach that’s helping him see success on the trails.

“The 5K is more of a mental race, because you have to prepare mentally and physically to have your body go out there and run for that long as fast as you can through the pain and endure it. In the 400 and 800 ,you’re going faster speeds, but you can see the finish right in front of you. In the 5K, you have more time to push yourself, which is why it’s more mentally taxing,” Jack says. “I’m in my junior year and I feel I’m still learning that from my coaches and teammates. Every year, the experience of knowing what is to come, the best approach to each race has helped me improve my times and best prepare for each and every meet.”

PJ Foti covers sports for East Haven and North Branford for Zip06. Email PJ at pj.foti@shorepublishing.com.

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