On November 4, 2011, cross country runner Sam Fujimori, a senior at Bancroft School, won his fourth straight Eastern Independent League (EIL) Cross Country Championship at Franklin Park in Boston. Sam followed up on November 12 with a win at the New England Preparatory School Track Association (NEPSTA) Div. IV races in Hebron, ME – his second NEPSTA title.
The EIL win gave Sam a new personal best of 16:37. (For the uninitiated, that’s a 5K race — 3.1 miles — in 16 minutes, 37 seconds.) He called this win his most exciting so far because, in addition to his individual success, Bancroft’s Cross Country team as a whole achieved its best results in all the years he’s been a part of the team.
Sam entered Bancroft School as a kindergartener, but it wasn’t until seventh grade that he tried cross country running, and only then, he says, “because I wasn’t good at soccer.” It’s pretty clear that young Sam found his niche when he laced up his running shoes. In eighth grade, he won every race he ran.
Then came the transition to upper school, when the races get longer. As a freshman, he won every race but one, and placed 11th at NEPSTA. Around that time he began training during the summer, traveling three times a week to practice in Boston.
As a sophomore, Sam was undefeated. As a junior, also his first year as team captain, he was undefeated once more, and won his first NEPSTA title. Now in his senior year, still serving as team captain, he has set a Bancroft course record of 16:11 while continuing his undefeated streak.
When asked what he likes about cross country racing, Sam says, “All the effort I put into it is exactly what I get out of it. If I work hard, I know I can be successful, so it’s fun to compete and race.” Sam currently has a six-day-a-week training regimen; five days at Bancroft, and Sundays in Boston. Clearly it’s working.
Article and photo courtesy of The Bancroft School.