Allera, Wilde Lake, Cross Country

Q&A -- J.P.



Senior cross country standout J.P. Allera earned first-team All-Metro honors last season after helping the Wildecats to county, regional and state titles. On Sept. 30, Allera took first place in the Medium Division of the Bull Run Invitational at Hereford with a time of 16 minutes, 52 seconds. Wilde Lake also won the team title in the division. After playing soccer through middle school, Allera wanted to do something different so he turned to running in his freshman year. He also plays the saxophone -- he is the first chair alto in the marching band and the lead tenor in the jazz band. Allera has a 4.18 weighted grade-point average and plans to major in engineering or mathematics.

How exciting was it coming away with a title at the Bull Run?

That was great individually and as a team. To go up there, we were going up against some great teams and I had some great competitors, and we just beat them.

How are things different for you this season being a senior and not having [graduated All-Metro standout] Travis Boccher around?

It's my last year here, so I'm putting a lot of effort into it, working hard and leading the team. It's tougher without Travis because he was always there, we were able to train together and now he's gone. But we have some new people and everybody has stepped it up so you just keep going.

What do you do to prepare for a big race?

I try not to stress about it. You always think about it, but you can't get obsessed. Before a race, I try to think about who else may be competing, how the race may play out and remember the course -- where the hard parts are, where the big downhills are -- and plan out my strategy.

How did you get started playing the saxophone?

In fourth grade when we started being able to play instruments, I just picked up the sax and then I started studying privately since the sixth grade.

How do playing the saxophone and running fit into your life?

It's pretty similar to running. I like to practice and you can sort of put your feelings into how you play the saxophone just as you can put it into your running.

Which sports team do you follow?

I like the local teams -- the Ravens and the Orioles, more so the Ravens because they're a better team right now.


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