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Episcopal Academy’s Michael Woolery is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week (March 6-12)

The junior middle distance runner won the open 800 meter run at the PTFCA indoor state championship last month, with a Delaware County record time of 1:52.83. He also anchored the 4×400 which finished third at the PTFCA indoor state championships, locking up the team title for the Episcopal Academy boys. Earlier this winter, Woolery was the anchor of EA’s victorious 4×800 at the Millrose Games, which posted a time of 7:45.78, a U.S. No. 1 ranked time. Woolery also has been a key member of the powerful EA cross country team the past few years. “Michael is a great athlete who comes to practice every day and is very competitive,” said EA boys middle distance track and cross country coach Jim Farrell. “He enjoys cross country, but he loves track.  It is a pleasure working with Michael every day.”


Q: You anchored the 4×400 which locked up the PTFCA indoor state championships team title for the EA boys. What is your strongest memory of that race, and the end of that race?


A: Before going into the 4×400, our coach informed us about the situation, of what we needed in order to win the team tittle… My strongest memory of this race is receiving the baton knowing that I just need to keep position.  From there, something came over me and my body did everything for me. Of course it hurt, but the thought of the team title made it simple. The end of the race was unforgettable, I can remember hearing my head coach (Zach Richards) yelling with happiness near the finish line. The thought set in that we are STATE CHAMPS and I walked over to my coach. From there, in complete happiness, our coach stepped on the track from the other side of the rail to celebrate with us. It was truly an emotional experience to see everyone on our team so happy.


Q: What was the key to winning the open 800 meter run at the PTFCA indoor state championship?


A: The key was to leave everything out there. With lots of thoughts leading up to the race, I ultimately decided that I needed to just go from the gun. I needed to get out, away from everyone and grind until I crossed the finish line.


Q: You were anchor of the 4×800 at the Millrose Games, which won the race in a time of 7:45.78, a U.S. No. 1 ranked time. What is your favorite memory of that race?


A: My favorite memory of this race is the finish. I could see the tape held across the finish line and the time slowly ticking. The clock paused when I crossed and read “7:45.” At that point we knew we did something special and that we worked so hard for it. It was an incredible moment that we knew we executed perfectly.


Q: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of running an indoor track, as compared to running a cross country race?


A: Indoor track is really what I love and it was great to make the transition from cross country. Running indoors is much different though. For example, you have much time in cross country and often lots of room as well. If you make a mistake, there is a lot of time to recover and lots of space to settle and find your way through the race. Indoor track, however, is much different. It is difficult to run on a small, 200 meter track where you have guys pushing and shoving for position. Navigating this takes time and knowing how to race in that environment can be difficult.


Q: Tell us a little about your running shoes, the type of shoe you favor and why.


A: I am a full Nike trainer. I train in USATF Pegasus 39, while doing fast past workouts on the track in Nike streakflys and doing long tempos in Nike vaporflys. When it comes to racing, I race in Nike dragaonflys sometimes for the 800, the mile, and up. I also switch and use Nike air zoom victorys for the 400 and sometimes the 800.


Q: What aspect of your running are you working on most currently?


A: Right now, I am confident in my speed, I split 48.5 in the 4×400. I know that I have a good kick and this is my strength. I am working on my distance to become faster in the two-mile run and mile run. I am also working on my double and tripling capabilities within the same day.


Q: Tell us a little about your pre-race preparation on the day of a race.


A: Pre-race meal typically consists of a bagel with peanut butter and banana. As well as oatmeal, fruit and lots of water. The night before is usually pasta and either an ice bath or compression.


Q: What is your favorite academic course at EA? What do you think you would like to major in at college? Is there a particular career field that interests you at the present time?


A: My favorite class at EA right now is Functions and Trigonometry. In this class, we discuss a lot about financial literacy, which is very interesting to me. I am currently undecided what I want to major in in college, but have always thought about being a pilot.


Fun facts – Michael Woolery

Favorite book: Bowerman and the men of Oregon.

Favorite movie: Top Gun.

Favorite athlete: Steve Prefontaine.

Favorite pre-race pump-up song: Too Comfortable.

Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.

Favorite place to visit: St. John, Virgin Islands.

Favorite pre-race meal: Oatmeal.

Person I most admire, and why: “I most admire my grandfather Ted Woolery because of his inspiration and experience. He was also a runner and currently coaches track at Radnor High School. He is such a inspiration to me and always understands anything I tell him. He is a great mentor and great grandfather.”


(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)

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