Research pays off: Dominic Sclafani is the 2017 Sun Journal Boys' Cross Country Runner of the Year

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Dominic Sclafani (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

All of Oxford Hills senior Dominic Sclafani’s research paid off this year.

The top Vikings runner finished 12th in the Class A state meet with a time of 17:13, his best-ever finish in a state meet.

Sclafani and his coach, Luc Roy, prepare for meets by researching everything from the course to where on the starting line Sclafani will start when the gun goes off.

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And while preparation led to success in Sclafani’s case, his first win of the season at Leavitt High School came as a surprise.

“I was kind of surprised that I won,” Sclafani said. “I didn’t know that I could run that fast.”

At the time, his winning time of 17:19 was his fastest 5k time. However, Sclafani continued to improve throughout the season. At the Festival of Champions, he ran a personal best of 16:37, finishing in 28th overall.

Sclafani delves deep into his preparation, using his love of numbers as the catalyst for getting ready for races. The expected mile splits are already ingrained in the senior’s head, but he also has learned to understand his body better.

“I’m a math guy, so I look at pacing a lot,” Sclafani said. “I’m not really a biology guy, but I do look up how going out fast will affect lactic acid buildup during a race, so I do typically try to start slower so it doesn’t happen too quickly.”

After a fourth-place finish at Cony’s hilly course, Sclafani followed that up with a fourth-place finish at the Northern regional meet at Belfast, the location for the Festival, regionals, states and New England’s.

A goal of Sclafani’s goiing into the season was to make it to the New England championship meet.

Sclafani qualified, in part because of his work ethic.

“I’ve had other runners take it serious but not have the same results,” Roy said. “He works harder than pretty much any runner I’ve ever had.”

At New England’s, the senior ran to a time of 17:15 in a crowded field. The amount of people in the race gave Sclafani a challenge, one that he welcomed and embraced.

“It was a lot faster and a lot harder of a race that I’ve had all season so I really enjoyed that,” Sclafani said. “It was a lot of fun… I enjoyed that part. I like the challenge.”

Dominic Sclafani (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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