The Academy of Notre Dame junior finished fifth in the mile run (5:07) at the recent PTFCA Indoor State Championship, as well as 15th in the 800 meter run. She also won the Meet of Champions in the mile run, posting a time of 5:05.83, winning by more than 10 seconds with a clocking that ranked eighth in Pennsylvania. Switching to outdoors, she won the 1,600 meter run and was second in the 3,200 meter race at the Rustin Invitational March 28. Schneider also plays field hockey for Notre Dame and is a member of Student Council, Mathletes, National Honors Society, and participates in a service opportunity called Women of Hope.
Q: What do you think was the key to your performance at the PTFCA Indoor State Championship?
A: Since our school isn’t in the PIAA, we can’t participate in PIAA Outdoor States. Therefore, Indoor States has always meant so much more to our team. I think the key to my performance that day was my poise beforehand and my excitement to simply compete during the race. I didn’t overthink it. I knew that there would be some really good competition in my heat of the mile, but I tried to stay calm and relaxed for the first half of the race and stay with the pack. As the race when on and our heat was spreading out, I attempted to stay with the girl ahead of me for as long as possible. It was a really memorable day!
Q: What was your most vivid memory of the mile run at the Meet of Champions?
A: I usually don’t wear my watch during races, but I decided to try using it for this race and it helped me make sure I was on track. No pun intended. Late in the race, I had a lead, but wearing the watch helped me stay focused and be disciplined to not get off pace.
Q: Does your running strategy change at all, running indoors versus running outdoors?
A: Running outdoors is definitely easier compared to indoors because you have less tight turns and running in packs is easier since there’s more space. I had only competitively run the 3,200 meter race once before [the Rustin Invitational], as a freshman, so it was fun to run a different event than I’m used to.
Q: Briefly describe for us your pre-race preparation (physical, mental) on the day of a race.
A: I usually look back on recent races to see what I did well and need to improve upon and try to apply these to my next race. Also, I go over my race plan with my coach, Nick Vechik, and listen to a pump up playlist during warmup.
Q: What has been the most important thing you have learned on the track this year?
A: One of the most important things I’ve learned this year is not letting up in the middle of the race and staying competitive even when there is a long way to go until the finish line.
Q: Your older sisters, Mikayla and Katie, used to run for Academy of Notre Dame. What has been the most important thing you learned about running from your siblings?
A: I never was able to run with my sister Katie because of our age difference but I learned a lot from my sister Mikayla during our one year together. Mikayla had the ability to lead and set a good example for others, for instance, by running at states even while having the stomach bug, she taught me about the importance of being a good teammate and persevering.
Q: Tell us a little about your running shoes, the type of shoe you favor and why.
A: My racing shoes are my sister Katie’s old ones. It’s nice having a little memory of her when I race.
Q: What’s your favorite local running venue and why?
A: The Lehigh University indoor track is probably my favorite local running venue. Most of our indoor meets are held there so our team is very comfortable racing there.
Q: What aspect of your running are you working on most recently?
A: I’ve been trying to perfect my running form during races and stay relaxed. I often subconsciously start straining too early in races and it’s not optimum for finishing strong.
Q: What do you think you would like to major in at college?
A: I’ve always enjoyed math and science, so I am considering both Business and Engineering as possible college majors.
Fun facts – Jess Schneider
Favorite book: The Harry Potter Series.
Favorite TV show: Friends.
Favorite movie: Cheaper by the Dozen.
Favorite pre-race pump-up song: Don’t Let Me Down by the Chainsmokers.
Favorite team: Villanova basketball.
Family members: parents Arnie and Molly, sisters Katie and Mikayla.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)
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