A feature Q&A with Centennial cross country senior, Devin McIntyre
Centennial's girls cross country team has gotten off to a strong start this fall, taking advantage of a tight-knit bunch of runners on the way to several top finishes including winning the early-season Howard County Invitational. Led by senior Devin McIntyre, who was a first-team all-county selection last fall, the Eagles are preparing to make a run at winning another state championship — trying to duplicate the success of the team that won in 2013.
McIntyre recently sat down with Howard County Times cross country beat reporter Monica D'Ippolito to discuss her outlook for her final season with the team.
So far, how do you think your season has gone?
So far, I think it has gone great. I came into the season unknowing. I knew we had good players but I didn't know who else was out there, and so I think it has gone really great. We're all really confident and we know we have it in us.
Seems like you guys are really close as a team, and it shows during races. Can you talk about that a little bit?
We run as a family, that's our new saying this year. Outside of school we're all friends. We have a group chat that we're all in, we text in it like every day. We're really close with each other and it really helps when we're out there. Like if I run with Kara (Taylor), she says confident stuff to me every time I run and that's just really nice. And like, not having random girls that I'm just cross country friends with. I consider them my close friends outside of cross country.
How long have you guys been running together?
Since freshman year. Well JJ (Jessica Jiang) didn't run her freshman year, she ran her sophomore year, so since sophomore year it's been me, Kara, JJ and Ashley (Mazer).
Has it really come together for your last year?
Yeah, definitely. Everyone has really improved, especially Ashley. She wants it really badly and it's really shown how much she wants it. She's really just pushing herself, along with all the other girls.
Oh my god yeah, girls are so aggressive. They'll like elbow you and kind of like spike you. It gets aggressive out there and you've got to just push your way through.
Anything you remember your teammates saying to you that really got you through a tough stretch of a race?
I guess Kara will always be like, "You can do it, don't give up, you're not on 'e', you're on a full tank." Stuff like that, and she's always really good with that.
I know Bull Run was a hard course. Is that one of the hardest courses you've ever run?
Yeah, it is really challenging. You reach the back area after coming up the first hill and then you're on the gravel patch and it's literally like I'm on empty. You just want to stop, your legs are dead. Because the ground isn't very good, your legs feel so heavy, it's so hard. But once you reach that down hill and you come up that last final hill, you can see the finish line and the finish line has a descending down hill, so once it's over it's so nice.
What's the feeling like when you see the finish line at the end of a race?
Normally I say sprint, but I don't have a good finish. So I'm just like, "alright, I'm here, just make it a few more steps."
Is that something you really would like to improve on?
Yes, definitely my finish. Some races I'll get it, but I just can't, I don't know, some races I can't finish for some reason. I'm like dead at the end of the race because I like to go fast in the beginning, slow up toward the end, which is not really common, so by the time I'm at the end I have nothing left.
How does it feel to be one of the top runners in the county on one of the best teams?
See, I don't see it that way. I see it like I'm another one runner. There's better girls than me out there. I shouldn't feel like they're intimidated by me, I'm just another high school runner. And my teammates are just as good as me. I feel like they're right behind me. And I like that better, because last year it was Shreya (Nalubola), me, and then I'd have none of my team. And this year I can rely on them. If I'm not having a good day they can step up and they can do well.
How is Kevin McCoy as a coach?
He's really one of the best coaches I've ever had, and I definitely would not do cross country if it wasn't for my coach. He is always pushing us to be the best, and he is so easy going, he makes it so much easier. Like it is just cross country, you are here because we want to do it, not because he's making us do it. He is really nice, and confident. If we don't do well, he's like, "shake it off, we have next week."
My parents are really big into running, so I've always gone on runs with them and stuff. I've done Iron Girls.
When was your first big run as a kid?
When I was 13 I did a triatholon… I was 13 but I was racing as a 14-year old because my birthday is in December.
Does your family come to meets?
Yeah, my mom works the finish line and everything and they (both) come.
Are they ever critical about your finish?
Oh yeah, I mean they're critical about my finish. My dad is really big into running and he loves it. He pushes me to be the best I can be, and when I finish he always has the biggest smile on his face. He's proud and I know it.
Do you guys have a family goal of doing a marathon or anything like that together?
My mom did this Key to Keys, bike across the Florida Keys, and my brother's going to do it and probably one day I'll do it.
Are you going to run in college?
No, actually I'm going to Salisbury to play lacrosse.
Do you like lacrosse more than cross country?
Yeah, a lot more.
Is cross country something you do to get ready for lacrosse season?