October 03, 2008

Is it Time for Johnny Gregorek?

For running fans of a certain generation, it's hard to get past that name -- Gregorek -- without immediately attaching all sorts of unfair expectations to the runner now emerging as one of the best in Massachusetts.

Johnny Gregorek is a junior at Seekonk High School. Last winter and spring he showed that he was one of the best young milers in the state, running 4:28 indoors and 4:25 outdoors (7th at the All-State meet). This fall, he has shown that he is ready to make his mark in cross-country, and so far he has...

- broken Pat Benson's course record at the Bishop Feehan course by 40 seconds.

- won the Boys Varsity 1 race at the Ocean State Invitational, running 16:14 over a muddy course at Goddard State Park. (For comparison, Newton South's Andrew Wortham -- who ran 15:34 at Amherst -- ran 16:21 at Ocean State).

Gregorek is not the only outstanding junior in Mass this year. Nashoba's Brendan Aylaian finished second at Amherst in 15:32, and Mashpee's Max Darrah ran 15:49 in that same race. All three appear to be at a very high level right now.

But Gregorek has -- here's that unfairness again -- pedigree. He is the son of Christine Gregorek, an Olympic Trials finalist and still owner of a share of the U.S. 4x800m record, and John, an Olympian in the steeplechase in 1984, and owner of a 3:51 mile PR and 8:18 steeple PR. It makes it hard not to speculate about how much upside Johnny might have, and whether we have only seen the beginning.

On Saturday, Seekonk is scheduled to run in the Div II race at Franklin Park. As a small school, they don't usually get as much attention as teh Brooklines and Newton Souths of the world, but if Gregorek runs one of the fastest times of the day, he'll put Seekonk back on the map.


Anonymous said...

Great post as always, John.

It is clear that the strongest part of Gregorek's pedigree is that he is from Seekonk......


Anonymous said...

not to mention he has GRAND SPANKin hair

Anonymous said...

Johnny is a great runner, and an even greater person. He's so gracious about winning, and he'll always cheer his opponents on. This past winter, Johnny was named the fastest kid in the nation, with a 9 minute two mile, obviously a huge feat for a high school junior. Johnny is a fantastic runner, and i have no doubt in my mind that he'll make it to the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

He's good, but not the "fastest kid in the nation."