Green sets the standard for region’s high school runners
By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Shrewsbury – Jonathan Green loves to run all disciplines – cross-country in fall, indoor track in the winter and spring track. What sets this 18-year-old Berlin resident apart from other athletes he competes against is that he is not dominant in just one season – he excels in all three.
Green, who is now a senior at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, is the reigning Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) All-State cross-country champion. He posted a 15:41 in that race. Last year, he placed seventh in the 2011 Foot Locker Northeast Regional cross-country meet and then came in 22nd in the Foot Locker Nationals. His time of 15:29, a personal best, was enough to beat the field at the Ocean State XC Invitational Sept. 29. He has also won titles in winter and spring track, including the 2011 MIAA two-mile All-State indoor championship, in which he posted a time of 9:21.68.
Green ran on his middle school’s cross-country team. But in his freshman year at St. John’s, he went out only for spring track, instead choosing to participate in crew in the fall and alpine skiing in the winter. It wasn’t until his sophomore year that he started thinking seriously about concentrating on running exclusively and in all three seasons, he said.
He credits the St. John’s coaching staff for helping him to improve steadily each year.
“Things really started picking up with the coaches’ help, especially Coach [Rich] Ovian. The training was much more structured,” he said.
Green noted that the book “Running the Edge: Discovering the Secrets to Better Running and a Better Life,” by U.S. track and cross-country star Adam Goucher, also influenced him.
“His book really made me think about how running related to all parts of life,” he said. “That really helped me to focus and get serious about [running].”
Although he is eager to improve his own stats, Green said he is just as focused on seeing the St. John’s team attain its third straight district championship, and perhaps first state title, this fall. He and fellow senior Alex Crowley are the team’s co-captains.
“We have a great team, with some really good runners, many who are fighting for varsity spots,” Green said. “I think we have a really good chance.”
Ovian praised Green for not only his talent, but also his leadership skills.
“He is a great kid to work with. He works very hard and is a good role model for the younger kids to aspire to,” Ovian said. “He doesn’t let his success go to his head.”
“It’s been great to see his hard work pay off and see him reach a higher level,” he added.
When not studying or training, Green said he enjoys spending time with his family, biking, and his girlfriend, Ariana Leonelli. Although his parents Susan and Thomas support him “100 percent” he said, neither one of them have run in competitions.
“My dad does run a bit for exercise; hopefully he’ll run with me someday [in an event],” Green said.
However, his younger brother Nicholas, who is in eighth grade, appears to be following in his brother’s footsteps.
“He runs cross-country in middle school now, just like I did,” Green smiled. “Maybe he’ll have the same kind of success when he comes [to St. John’s]. I hope so.”
Green acknowledges that his attention to academics wasn’t as strong as it could have been his first two years at St. John’s but that his has attitude had changed in that area as well during his junior year. Now as a senior, he is looking at colleges. He’s not sure where he would like to attend but hopes to major in business.
“I definitely want to keep running,” he added, “and see how far I can go.”
Based on his success over the past three years, it would appear that he will go very far.
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