Philpott blazes his way to Union College
Published 12:50 pm, Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Many people would do anything for recent Weston graduate Paul Philpott's most prized asset: his speed.
On the soccer pitch and the track, he has used it to etch his place in the Trojans' minds for years to come.
Weston track coach Matt Medve jump-started Philpott's running career in middle school. The sprinter then continued track because he enjoyed running fast, and liked that he was good at it.
"However, my teammates and coaches (influenced me most) because they made the sport competitive and exciting," Philpott said.
An avid runner of indoor and outdoor track throughout high school, Philpott was also a strong soccer player for the Trojans.
He garnered 12 varsity letters over his 12 seasons of athletics, and was captain of both track teams.
"I liked the indoor season because of the 300-meter dash and the 4x200-meter relay, which are both really awesome to watch and run," he said. "We also get to travel with the girls team and see them compete, which is fun."
However, Philpott prefers the spring's shorter weekday meets to winter's long weekend competitions.
He enjoys the 400-meters races of outdoor track and the nicer weather that accompanies its season.
Philpott has been one of the fastest Trojan runners in every distance from 50 to 800 meters, and has adapted to changing roles over the years depending on the teams' needs.
His most memorable indoor moment was running the 300-meter dash at the Yale Classic his senior year in 36.55 seconds.
Good for the 110th fastest time in the country this year, the time got him featured on Dyestat.com, a popular website for tracking top athletes.
Yet arguably more impressive are the two distance medley relays Philpott ran at Nationals, against the best competition in the country. He was a member of Weston DMRs his junior and senior years, in which the Trojans finished 23rd and 28th, respectively.
The 2011 State Open 4x400-meter, coincidentally the last race of his high school career, was Philpott's favorite outdoor memory. Coming out of the middle heat, the Weston relay placed sixth and Philpott ran a personal best of 49.8 seconds. The relay qualified for the New England Championship, but did not run there.
Throughout his running career, staying focused has presented itself as Philpott's biggest challenge.
"Having fun would get in the way of me being the best I could be and doing what needed to be done to reach my goals, and my natural talent could only get me so far," he said. "But once I `put the hammer down,' as my coaches said, I got to where I wanted to be and it felt much better."
Philpott plans to continue his running career at Union College in New York, an NCAA Division-III school affiliated with the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the Liberty League. He plans to run indoor and outdoor track, and looks forward to improving his 400-meter time to consistently get it under 50 seconds.
"I hope to place well in my conference, qualify for the next level competitions, and do well in those," he said.
Philpott's Weston teams met great success over his four years, including two SWC titles and two Class S state titles for the Indoor Track squads. Personally, he collected accolades including myriad All-SWC and All-State awards, the Outdoor Track Rookie of the Year and co-MVP awards, and scholar athlete recognitions every year.
"My favorite moment was winning the indoor SWCs my senior year (alongside co-captain Stephen) Vento, and then coming in second during outdoor," he said.
Scoring the game-
winning goal against Lewis Mills in the state tournament to propel Weston to the quarterfinals stands as Philpott's top soccer memory. While he would like to play soccer at Union, he has not yet decided if he will.
Playing two sports makes Philpott a well-rounded athlete, allowing him to use skills he gains from one in the other.
"Track influences my soccer by allowing me to use my speed to beat other players with the ball or to get around them," he said. "It also helps me get back and chase opponents on defense.
"Soccer influenced me in track by bringing the whole team aspect into things. Track can sometimes feel very individualistic, but soccer isn't like that, which helped me bring the track team together by doing some of the things I learned (on the field). Also, it affected (my race preference), because in the 4x400 you rely on three other people to do well and help pick you up if you don't run your best."
For a Union College team that finished third in the four-team Liberty League this spring, Philpott may help get the Dutchmen headed on the right track. His Weston running career has prepared him to do what he knows best, and his years of running have taught him to sprint for the finish, right from the start.