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Athlete of the Issue: Paul Michaud

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16 minutes and 38 seconds. You can use this amount of time to read 5,000 words, or get through the bulk of a television show, or perhaps catch up on your Latin reading. Or, if you’re Paul Michaud, you can run five kilometers.

 

Paul had humble beginnings in the sport of running. It all started, he said, when “some of his friends on the team convinced [him].” After starting his Groton sports career on the JV soccer team, he made the transition to cross-country in fourth form. In his first year, he clinched the fifth spot on the varsity team, but quickly realized his potential and worked his way up in the ranks. He ran consistently in his fourth form year and settled into the number three spot on the varsity team. Now, in his senior year, he has become the fastest member of the team and one of the strongest runners in the ISL. His race times average 17 minutes and 30 seconds – in other words, not far from five minutes per mile.

 

At first, it seemed absurd that someone could be as obsessed with the sport of running as Paul. He currently runs cross-country, participates in winter running, and finishes the year on the track and field. But he claims that the reason he loves running so much is because of “the team.” The group of similarly paced runners Paul runs with treats him with “welcomeness and kindness.” On Sundays, Paul opts to jog alone because he finds a calm in running that he sometimes can’t get anywhere else.

 

In addition to being the team’s speediest member, Paul is also a co-captain along with Sammy Malhotra ’18. Both Sammy and Paul work together to try to make a positive environment for all the members of the team, and work towards the goal of making everyone love running as much as Paul does. Paul accredits his good captainship to what he learned from watching previous captains. Paul’s team members only have good to say of him: Josh Guo ’20, says, “Paul is one of the best captains I’ve seen from my three years on the team. Paul makes everyone feel equally important.” Joey O’Brien ’20 agrees, saying that “whether it’s the drills, warmups, or trails to run, Paul’s decisions always benefit the team in some way.”

 

Paul is also appreciated by the coaches. “Paul has exemplified the grit and enthusiasm needed to succeed in a very challenging sport,” says assistant coach Jake Kohn. Head coach John Capen says that Paul “exemplifies Groton’s original motto” (Esse Quam Videri) in all his pursuits. Paul is not only a leader by his captain title, but in the way he competes and leads.

 

As for the future, Paul says he doesn’t have anything explicitly planned. He wants to continue running and will focus on the 3K event during track season. If that goes well, college running could be in Paul’s future. His immediate focus, however, remains on the Independent School League race at the end of the season and another race between New England private schools. Paul’s goal is to get under a time of 16:30 for both races.

All in all, Paul is “stoked” to finish his senior year as a captain on the cross-country team. Captaining a team of “young runners with potential,” he is excited to work himself and the others on his team as the fall term progresses and comes to a close. In Mr. Capen’s words, “He pushes himself and all of us to be our best not only as athletes, but as humans, modeling the esprit de corps that makes everyone want to be and get better in everything we do.”

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