Pittsburgh athletes of the week: Winchester Thurston’s Tristan Forsythe, USC’s Savannah Shaw

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 | 7:21 PM

Tristan Forsythe

School: Winchester Thurston

Class: Senior

Sport: Cross country

Claim to fame: Forsythe crossed the finish line first for the second consecutive season in the Class A/AA Red, White and Blue Classic on Saturday with a time of 15 minutes, 39.6 seconds. The reigning PIAA Class AA 1,600-meter champion, Forsythe finished second in the WPIAL Class AA cross country championships last season as the Bears went on to WPIAL and PIAA titles. Forsythe is mulling Division I offers.

What was it like to win a big event early in the season?

It was great. I hadn't raced since, I want to say mid-June at outdoor nationals, and that wasn't such a good race. I wasn't sure how my body was going to respond to really putting so much stress on it in this first race in such a long time, but it responded really well. The goal this year is to get ready for states and then the Northeast Regional championship and hopefully the national championship in December.

Does it help to have such strong teammates that can push you in practice?

Yeah, they're all great guys. We have a really good team right now, and our second man, Gordon Pollock, he's a senior as well, and he's been running with me ever since freshman year when we were lucky enough to come into a program and immediately contribute to a state championship team in 2014 with a couple of really good upperclassmen at the time. So we've kind of been in the program, and we're all really experienced, and we have two other really good sophomores right now.

Do you have any pre-race rituals?

I do the same warmups. I start about 75 minutes out. I go for a nice 20-minute jog with the guys on the team, and then we do dynamic stretches and just strides to get ready for the race, but I don't have anything too superstitious about my warmups. I know some people like to wear the same clothes every race, but I normally eat pancakes the day of the race.

What's your favorite class?

Economics. I'm hoping to be a business major, and I think that's really interesting. I'm learning a lot of new things in that class this year.

Savannah Shaw

School: Upper St. Clair

Class: Senior

Sport: Cross country

Claim to fame: Shaw finished first with a time of 17:58 in the Class AAA Red, White and Blue Classic on Saturday at Schenley Park. Shaw finished fourth in the WPIAL Class AAA cross country championships last year and sixth in the PIAA Class AAA 1,600-meter run.

What led to your success on Saturday?

Definitely just training. In spring track, I had a lot of good training and a lot of success in the mile, and that definitely translates to cross country as well. And throughout the summer I picked up the quality of my training and increased my mileage. I trained out in Colorado for a little bit as well, and it just showed up on Saturday.

What was your summer workout regimen like?

I ran six days a week. I was running up to 45 miles per week throughout the summer. … I've been trying to keep it at 35-40 at least for now as the season is kicking in a little bit. Just changing around my runs, I'll have about three easy days a week and then about three hard days so you want to mix and match those so you have time to recover because recovery is half the battle.

What are your goals in cross country for this season?

I definitely want to PR a bunch more, maybe get to mid-17s, low 17 minutes and then I hope to win WPIALs and place in the top five at states.

You're fluent in Chinese and play the cello. Do you place an emphasis on being well-rounded?

Focusing on schooling and I'm looking into business for college, so I've been taking some economics classes, taking business calculus, and life is more than just running. There's a lot more that I'm involved in.

What's your favorite class?

I really love my economics class. I love the teacher that teaches it, and I find it very interesting because I like math, but I also like the concepts behind it, and it's really cool tying those two classes together — business calculus and economics — because they go hand in hand. I'm taking AP psychology, and they're such interesting classes and they mesh really well, so it's really cool learning about stuff that I'm interested in.

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