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Dublin High School Senior Loic Scomparin Reflects on an Extraordinary Cross Country Season

November 26, 2018

DUBLIN, CA–Dublin High School senior and Cross Country Varsity runner Loic Scomparin recently ended his exceptional season with a sixth place finish at Saturday’s California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Championships, with a time of 15:12.2. His remarkable performance helped the Dublin High Cross Country Boys team secure fourth place in the state championships. Earlier this season, Loic placed first in his division in both the East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) and North Coast Section (NCS) Championships, leading his team to win first place at both championships.

Here, Loic reflects on his love for running, his relationships with his teammates and coaches, and his plans for the future.

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Neha Harpanhalli: Given the variety of sports available to you, why did you choose to take up running in particular?

Loic Scomparin: “I’ve always enjoyed running, although I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it was the challenge to push myself to do my very best, since running is more about mental strength than anything else. I led an active lifestyle in my childhood years, and joined the track team at Wells Middle School and later at Dublin High. I didn’t know what cross country was at the time, but eventually, I fell in love with the sport and never looked back.”

Neha Harpanhalli: When did you begin running competitively? How did you come to realize that this was something you enjoyed immensely?

Loic Scomparin: “I first started running competitively in my freshman year of high school in distance track. My middle school training was not the most intense, so the high school training was definitely a shock to me! At first, I didn’t like the intensity, and even skipped Tuesdays—the hardest day—during winter conditioning. I realized I loved running when I started racing and saw how much I improved after working hard. It was very fulfilling, and nowadays, even if I don’t get the results I want, I still love the training. The team has also been instrumental in making me love the sport. I came to know everyone really well over time, and the bond within the team is very strong because we face many challenges together.”

Neha Harpanhalli: You have been part of the Dublin High Varsity Cross Country Team since your sophomore year, and have now emerged as the top Gael runner. How have your practice and training sessions evolved since you first joined the team?

Loic Scomparin: “There have really been no major changes in training since I first joined. For all runners, our weekly mileage goes up every season. Since this is my sixth season, I may have a 55 minute run on one day, whereas the freshmen only have a 30 minute run. I sometimes have morning runs before school, which are fun because we mostly just run around the neighborhood at a slower pace. However, mileage is not based on if an athlete is in varsity or not; everybody works hard. Our core and strength circuits, warmup, and stretching routines have evolved over time. Some of the workouts have also changed to ensure that all athletes have a good ability to both “tempo” for long distances and sprint hard at the end of a race.”

Neha Harpanhalli: Although running is often perceived to be an individual sport, it is in fact a team effort in many ways. How do you and your teammates motivate each other? What role do you think they have played in your personal success as an athlete?

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Loic Scomparin: “All of us have individual goals, so yes, part of it is individual. As a team, we motivate each other because everyone wants to give it their all. We always run with teammates who run at about the same speed as us. That way, if they are struggling in a run or workout, we can encourage them, or take the lead and pace them so that all they have to think about is staying with us. Often, when someone needs motivation, it is not because they are physically tired, but stressed out about something: a prior bad performance, school, or family issues. We all talk to each other and give advice regarding these issues because we are so close as a team.

“We also hold our team members accountable. We have a talk with someone if they did something they weren’t supposed to do (like staying up too late playing video games and not getting enough sleep)! We encourage each other to have better habits through friendly discussion rather than being angry and calling people out.

“I cannot downplay the role my teammates have played in my success; they have boosted my morale so many times. They have given me an emotional outlet that balances out the physical rigor of the sport. We’ve always called ourselves family, so I would say that is their role: anything a family would do to support each other. We always have fun together outside of running as well, so I know I have a strong support system and I never feel left out.”

Neha Harpanhalli: What is one piece of advice you have received from your coaches that you will always cherish?

Loic Scomparin: “Everything counts—core circuits, stretching routines, injury prevention work, pre-race course analysis, and more. Not everything we do is hard, but everything is important, so it is essential not to skip over anything. All the extra work the team puts in outside of our daily runs has given us a competitive advantage.”

Neha Harpanhalli: Is there anyone you would like to thank, and why?

Loic Scomparin: “I would like to thank the whole team and anyone I’ve ever trained with (my former teammates too!). I really appreciate all the time and hard work Coach Williams, Coach Vidrio, Coach Kleinow, Coach Bretey, Coach Blackwell, and everybody ‘behind the scenes’ in athletics has put in. Some of the coaches spend more time than the team at practice despite having important teaching positions.

“I would like to give Coach Williams a special thanks. As the head coach, he manages some of the meets, calculates workout paces and training plans for EVERY athlete, and analyzes every race result to determine how training needs to be improved and which meets we need to run at in the future. In addition, he manages all the communication with the parents. There is a lot of science and math behind our training (one of the reasons we’ve had the success we’ve had) and he is the one behind all of it.

“Last but not least, I would like to thank my family for being very supportive of my decision to run. They always adapt to my schedule and look forward to races almost as much as I do!”

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Neha Harpanhalli: Going forward, do you envision running to always be a part of your life, in college and beyond?

Loic Scomparin: “I definitely do! I know I would become sad (and out of shape) if I stopped running. I am going to run competitively in college. Although academics are always my priority, I would not feel right if I didn’t have an equally difficult physical challenge waiting for me after classes. I want to major in engineering, which will most likely be quite hard, so time management will be essential. After college, I plan to run just for fun and to stay in shape, so it will definitely be a little less intense.”

Neha Harpanhalli: How do you spend your time when you are not running?

Loic Scomparin: “I have to admit, I don’t have that much free time! Between homework, studying, training, time hanging out with the team, and the ever-so-important sleep, I often struggle to find some free time for other activities. I really love traveling, and have been fortunate to go all over California and throughout France and parts of Europe, since I have family over there. I’m also really into all sorts of other outdoor activities, like fishing, mountain climbing and biking, and hiking, and I love reading as well.”

Neha Harpanhalli: Finally, is there anything else you would like to share?

Loic Scomparin: “I’m proud to be a Gael!”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Amy Miller permalink
    November 26, 2018 8:01 am

    What a great read for the Monday back from a break. Great questions and inspiring answers. Congrats to Loic and the entire Gaels track team.

  2. Joe Washington permalink
    November 26, 2018 11:43 am

    Great stuff.  Thanks Neha! Get Busy Living!

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