N  I  A  G  A  R  A      G  A  Z  E  T  T  E       niagara-gazette

Published: October 15, 2009 11:33 pm 

BOYS XC: GI’s Masiello setting a perfect pace

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

GRAND ISLAND — Pace. It’s such a simple term, yet it becomes complicated in the world of cross country.

Just ask Grand Island junior Nick Masiello.

“Pace is everything for me,” the team captain said. “Once I find the right pace, I just go and usually no one can catch me.”

Case in point, the Western New York Officials meet a few weeks back at Beaver Island. Or the Vikings’ Niagara Frontier League dual meet win against perennial power Lockport.

“He ran almost perfectly in those races,” veteran GI coach Don Sauer said.

Masiello said his normal strategy is to stay just behind the front crowd for the first half mile and then begin to pick it up.

“Once I see a few of them start to die out a bit, I attack,” he said, while also noting that he often runs negative splits, a rarity at the high school level.

Of course those splits don’t come easy. Masiello is a tireless worker and often gets a push from fellow captain Derek Stacey. Trying to follow in the footsteps of one of school’s best runners ever, Evan Tsembelis, is also a source of motivation.

“Evan taught me a lot and made me so much better, but we have this team undefeated after beating Lockport and Evan never did that,” Masiello said. “(Former GI and Niagara standout and current assistant coach) Jon Lacki has also been a big help. We’re lucky to have him.”

Sauer, meanwhile, feels lucky to have Masiello.

“He is running up with the best runners in the section and he’s only a junior,” the coach said with a smile.

Now, with the help of a creative imagination, Masiello is turning his focus towards the bigger races over the next month, including the Section VI Championships at Elma Meadows.

“If someone has beat me in the past and I’m going to race them, like at a bigger meet such as sectionals, I imagine them in front of me in practice all week long before the race,” Masiello said. “That pushes me to catch them in my head. And then hopefully by race day I can track anybody down.”

For starters, Masiello would like get his hands on the school’s elusive sectional title and a ticket to the state meet. And a top 20 in the Class A race at states would top it all off.

Contact reporter Nate Beutel at 282-2311, ext. 2262.


• SCHOOL: Grand Island

• SPORT: Boys Cross Country

• GRADE: Junior

• POSITION: Vikings’ No. 1 runner

• NOTES: Team captain ... Winner of Western New York Officials Meet ... Helped GI to 6-0 start in NFL dual meets

• COACH’S QUOTE: “He is running up with the best runners in the section.”

— Don Sauer