For the first time ever, three sisters qualified this weekend at the Northeast Junior Olympics to represent Connecticut and New England July 24-30 at the National Junior Olympics, being held in Eugene, Oregon. Representing the Litchfield Track Club, all three are Country School students. 7th Grader Tillie, 5th Grader Liv, and 3rd Grader Lexie Killam of Madison will be joined by Country School 8th Grade Cross Country Captain, Luke Schupp, also of Madison.
All four teammates ran their personal best times in the competition, held July 7-9 in Craryville, NY. By finishing among the top eight athletes in their events, Tillie qualified in the 3000 meters and the 1500 meters, Liv qualified in the 1500 meters, Lexie qualified in the 400, 200, and 100 meters, and Luke qualified in the 3000 meters.
When not running and racing, Tillie, Liv, and Lexie play lacrosse, guitar, trumpet, and ride horses. Liv and Tillie are part of the girls team that last year won the Connecticut State XC Championship, defeating all the public and private schools, as well as winning the prestigious Wickham championship, competing against schools from throughout New England.
Tillie, Liv, Lexie, and Luke are part of The Country School’s successful running program that has sent more runners over the last decade to the National Junior Olympics (44), Connecticut Junior Olympics (129), and the Northeast Junior Olympics (114) than any other school in New England. The school’s optional cross country program begins in Kindergarten with racing, donuts, and laughter. The Country School has produced a national champion, a runner-up champion, and four All-Americas. Former Country School runners are racing at the high school and college levels, including varsity runners for such programs as Notre Dame and Holy Cross. Most are captains of their teams and, after having been recruited to colleges and universities, some have earned college scholarships.
The runners are coached by Head of School, John Fixx, son of Jim Fixx, the famous author who revolutionized running and road racing in the 1970s and 80s with the number one best selling book, The Complete Book of Running, and then its sequel, Jim Fixx’s Second Book of Running. Also coaching is gifted runner and History Teacher Will McDonough, former captain of his high school and Middlebury College’s teams, still holds records throughout Vermont. Will also serves as the school’s Director of Community Engagement and has broken the 5:00 minute mile 22 years in a row.
Where Premier running club coaches see their athletes maybe once a week and some communicate only by email and phone, Will and John see their runners many times throughout the day on their small campus of 215 children from PreSchool-8th Grade. That proximity allows them as coaches to monitor the student-athletes’ moods, health, sleep patterns, recovery, and address any injuries or stress.
The goal of Country School’s cross country program is to have students learn to care for their health, enjoy the sport and team spirit, get faster as individuals, and eventually do their best running in high school, college and beyond. The coaches guard against runner burn-out and are always seeking that balance that pushes their athletes hard enough to gain satisfactory improvement but not to dread the sport. The kind of discipline and delayed gratification that cross country requires transfers well into the classroom, allowing students to push themselves to complete assignments, labs and papers even when fatigued.
Founded in 1955, The Country School serves students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School honors students’ creativity, sense of wonder, and intellectual curiosity. The school’s integrated curriculum, successful athletics program, and robust arts program provide opportunities for character and leadership development. You’re going to love it here. Schedule a tour and learn more at thecountryschool.org