Andrew and Madeleine Shaver knew what to expect on their second go-around.
The Oswego siblings competed in the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships Dec. 14-15 in Madison, Wisconsin. Both of the siblings improved their times in their second appearance in the national meet.
“I was happy with the time and place that I got,” Madeleine said. “At the start, I was a little behind but I caught up pretty close to the front, and it was pretty easy because there was only one hill. The end was super fast because it was a straightaway.”
Madeleine finished the Girls 3K Run 9-10 Division race in 11:49.5 to take 14th place out of 241 competitors. The 10-year-old’s performance earned her All-American honors, which was her goal at the start of the meet.
Her outing was better than last year: Madeleine was 43rd overall with a time of 13:30.56 in the 9-10 division the year before in Reno, Nevada.
Andrew, 11, placed 172nd overall in the Boys 3K run 11-12 Division with a personal best time of 11:35.9 this year. The race featured more than 350 runners.
“Running with 360 runners around the same ability as you makes it drastically different than running around here in a 5K with a wide range of competition,” said Jon Shaver, Madeleine and Andrew’s father.
Andrew was 42nd overall in the 9-10 division in Reno last year with a time of 12:35.43. Moving up to the next division with 11 and 12 year-olds proved to be a tough test.
“It was a challenging race,” Andrew said. “I was at the bottom of my age group this year. It was a pretty flat course with one hill and I got my personal best time.”
The siblings qualified for the meet by running in the Niagara association meet in November, and then moved onto the Region 2 championships, which covers New Jersey, Pennsylvania and western New York.
Jon and the kids had a 12-week program to prepare for the national meet. The regiment included running six or seven days a week.
“Some days we’re running in the morning and the afternoon,” Jon said. “It’s a mix of hard and easy days scheduled strategically to build the kids’ endurance, strength and speed.”
The siblings have some time off before their next big meet. They plan to run in the indoor track championships in March and then the outdoor track championships in June.
“We’ll do some easier stuff to keep in shape and then we’ll probably start gMetting into the track season,” Andrew said.