Anthony Pizzo

[Braz Camp would not be Braz Camp without the irrepressible Anthony Pizzo. Just ask Coach Pete.]

GTD: Anthony, how many summers did you train in Coach Braz’s program? What got you started doing it?
Anthony: I started GTD summer camp 4 years ago, going into my sophomore year of high school. At the end of my spring track season of freshmen year, Coach Pete approached me and said it may be beneficial for me to do GTD in the summer. Since then, I’ve done it every summer.

GTD: During the 90 to 120 minutes of each session in the program – 18 sessions in July and August that start at 8am – were there moments you loved, and some not so much? Tell us why.
Anthony: One of the parts of the program I love is the social aspect of it. Many of the kids that I trained with over the summer have become close friends. Along with that, Coach Braz has the kids at the GTD camp do the small things that would be much harder to do on your own and without instruction. Things like hurdle work, band work, hip mobility; the small things that are necessary to do if a runner wants to truly be the best they can be.

GTD: The last phase of each training session was devoted to core work, flexibility, and strength. Tell us about it. What did you like and didn’t like.
Anthony: The ends of the session may be the most vital part of the session in my opinion. Core work, flexibility, and strength work are the small things that are going to help you become the best you can be. However, this last phase of the session is the hardest. You’re already fatigued from your run and now you have Coach Braz instructing core, he likes to get creative with his core exercises too.

GTD: When you’re doing the “running” parts of the program, do you ever “visualize” a xc race?
Anthony: Yes, before certain workouts, Coach Braz will tell us the goal of this workout is to simulate a XC environment. He’ll instruct us to do certain things at certain times, like throw in a surge or something along the lines of that. This part of Coach Braz’s program is what separates his coaching philosophy and his program from the others; he works on the mental aspect of running as well. I was lucky enough to have him as my track coach for 4 years as well. The mental aspect of running is something that he would always drill into us; that in order to be as successful as possible, you have to be mentally tough.

GTD: Sometimes when it’s over, runners think about those moments in a race where they lost focus (and time). Did you have any of those “lost moments” in Braz camp? Perhaps when you may have just gone through the motions during a core session, other times?
Anthony: Yeah, truthfully on occasion I’ll get lost in my head while running or whatever and have a mental lapse. But, Braz camp helps with eliminating those, forcing you to think when mentally you’re weak and on the verge of breaking. I have a rather lengthy to do list before each time I race. First, is my diet, I never eat red meat or red sauce 72 hours before the race. Then, two nights before is where I will have pasta with olive oil and some protein mixed in along with it, normally chicken. The night before the race, I eat a lighter meal, something with protein and not many carbs preferably. Then the morning of the race, I have water with 3 pieces of toast with peanut butter and jelly. Also, I will make sure I get 8 hours of sleep at a minimum the week of the race. I’m very superstitious as well, I have a couple pairs of track spikes that I wear and if I run a PR in one pair, I don’t stop wearing that pair until I don’t run well, then I switch it up.

GTD: How do you handle nutrition during your racing seasons. What about race day? With xc camp starting at 8am in the heat of summer, what did you do for food/drink BEFORE 8am?
Anthony: Like I said earlier, I have a very specific pre-race diet plan. The same thing goes before camp, I’ll wake up at 6:50 and have 3 pieces of toast with peanut butter and jelly along with water.

GTD: How did your fall season go at AIC? Athletic plans for the winter?
Anthony: My fall season at AIC went all rigth but was slightly disappointing. I was able to run 27:14 in the 8 K but my season was cut short due to illness. I ended up red shirting the rest of the cross country season while my team went on to win the NE-10 conference and the East region for division 2. For the winter, I’m planning on focusing on the 3K and 5K. Hopefully set a PR in the 3K and experience my first 5K on the track.

GTD: What are you studying at AIC? Long-range plans?
Anthony: I’m in the 6 year physical therapy accelerated program. So after 6 years, I’ll have my doctorate in physical therapy. Ideally, I’d like to be a PT for a professional sports team but a more realistic expectation would be to start PT at a hospital and hopefully open up my own practice.


XC Edge Athletes

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Michaela Staniec, Central Catholic HS, Sep. 2022
Sarah DiVasta, Peabody HS, Sep. 2022
Mike Brown, Andover HS/UMass-Amherst, Aug. 2022
Molly Kiley, Andover HS, Aug. 2022
Ellis Iurilli-Hough, Melrose HS, Aug. 2022
Colin Kirn, Andover HS, Aug. 2021
Victoria Lombardi, Stonehill College, Oct. 2020
Adam Abdulghani, Peabody HS, Oct. 2020
Shannon Bresnahan, Bishop Fenwick HS, Oct. 2020
Summer 2020 - click here
- Caroline Johnson, Marblehead HS, Sep. 2020
- Shannon O'Connell, Colby-Sawyer College, Sep. 2020
- Victoria Lombardi, Stonehill College, Sep. 2020
- Emily Ernst, Essex North Shore Tech, Sep. 2020
- Rachel Brennan, Gordon College, Sep. 2020
Sean Kay, Arlington Catholic, Oct. 2019
Shannon O'Connell, Colby-Sawyer College, Oct. 2019
Riley Dowd, Stonehill College, Sep. 2018
Kate Mitchell, Boston Collge, Aug. 2018
Nadja Ueckert-LaPlante, Ipswich HS, Dec. 2017
Marissa Farago, Triton HS, Apr. 2017
Anthony Pizzo, AIC, Dec. 2016
Matt Loehle, UConn, Dec. 2016
Emily DeMarco, Ipswich HS, Apr. 2016
Sarah Oliver, Marblehead HS, Jan. 2016
AJ Ernst, Marblehead HS, Dec. 2015
Abby Walsh, Beverly HS, Dec. 2015
Sydney Packard, Bishop Fenwick HS, Dec. 2015
Griffin Barriss, Melrose HS, Dec. 2015
Tia Patterson, Boston College, Dec. 2015
Thomas Mackin, Lynn Classical HS, Dec. 2015
Riley Dowd, Stonehill College, Nov. 2015
Emily Weigand, American University, Nov. 2015
Connor Wolff, Stonehill College, Nov. 2015
Lexi Buonfiglio, Stonehill College, Nov. 2015
Victoria Holleran, St John, Peabody, Mar. 2015
Abby Walsh, Beverly HS, Dec. 2014
Riley Dowd, Peabody HS, Dec. 2014
Sarah Oliver, Marblehead HS, Dec. 2014
Tia Patterson, Lynnfield HS, Nov. 2014
Emily Horgan, Univ. of Vermont, Nov. 2014
Arianna Maida, Bishop Fenwick HS, Sep. 2014