Meet Bishop England Coach Tony Colizzi

Tony Colizzi talks to scrunners about the 2022 Cross Country season and his coaching journey.

Name: Tony Colizzi
Years coached: 23 years at Bishop England

How and why did you get involved with coaching?
I was looking to get into coaching and the school needed an assistant track and cross country coach.

Did you run or compete in hs or college? If so, how did this experience help now as a coach?
I did not

How did it feel for you at the day of the state championships to have your team win a state title?
It was a great feeling. The girls were very excited to win the title, especially to end the 15 year drought of state championships

What steps did you take to prepare for the state meet yourself and your runners?
To prepare the kids we focus on them rather than other teams.  We talk about what they are capable of doing at the state meet.

What was your main focus throughout the season?
Getting the runners in the best shape and tapering at the right time to have them run their best at state.

How many hours a week would you spend training your team?
20-25 hours

What is your favorite memory from practices?
Long runs with the team and our pumpkin carving contest.

How was the team chemistry throughout the season?
This group of girls had very good chemistry.  They were very supportive of each other and pushed each other in practice.  Best chemistry the team has had in years.

What do you say to your runners before a race?
We just tell them to focus on themselves and run the race they are capable of running. 

if you could give a statement to others striving for a state title, what would it be?
The state title starts with summer running and Saturday long runs during the season.

What's it like on the course for you during the state championship races?
The state meet course is very spectator friendly so I can catch the runners at the start, one mile, two mile and three mile marks.  It allows me to encourage each athlete as they run in multiple places during their race. 

What is the most challenging part of being a coach? How do you work around it?
The most challenging part of coaching is finding the time to do all it takes to produce a strong team.  I have great assistants who help with all aspects of the coaching so I don't have to much of a load.  We talk every Sunday about the upcoming workouts and meets.

What do you find most satisfying about being a coach?
Watching the hard work that the runners do pay off with PRs throughout the season.  No matter your ability you can PR in cross country.

Overall, where do you see the sports going in S.C. in the future? What will it take to achieve this?
The sport has grown quite a bit over the last 20 years and I only see it getting better in the future. More and more kids are competing in cross country each year.

What does it mean to be named coach of the year?
It is a great honor but the award is really for the whole coaching staff.  To be coach of the year just reassures you that you have prepared the athletes well so that they competed well at the state meet.

What's the next step as a team?
Hopefully repeat as state champions again next year.