Entering this fall, Fairfield Prep’s Christian Alvarado had already established himself as one of the elite high school runner in the state of Connecticut.
This past cross country season he made the point even clearer with the way he cruised through the regular season and turned in an impressive postseason performance going undefeated in the state and earning a Top 20 finish at the Foot Locker National Championships.
“He doesn’t have to prove anything,” Prep head coach Bob Ford Jr. said. “I think last year he needed to prove some things. Proving was probably more to himself and his peers in Connecticut than anybody outside Connecticut.”
It’s hard to decide what has been most impressive about Alvarado, as he leaves the Prep cross country program as easily one of the best runners the Jesuits have ever had.
The Register’s Area MVP made his mark on the regular season and helped the Jesuits win the Southern Connecticut Conference team title. He set six course and two meet records along the way, including a State Open record of 15 minutes and 31 seconds, besting Glastonbury’s Donn Cabral’s time of 15:32 in 2007.
For Alvarado, who is attending Georgetown next fall, this season was about making sure he was always competing to the best of his ability.
“This year is all about dominance for me. I knew some of the guys who were going to be my competition from the two-mile last year and knew that I couldn’t slack off if I wanted to stay at the top,” he said.
What Alvarado said couldn’t be truer than his last race in Connecticut. At the State Open at Wickham Park in Manchester, he was in a deadlock for the lead with Ridgefield’s Trevor Hopper. The two were neck and neck down the finish line as Alvarado inched ahead for the win.
“Chris very fortunately has a great finish,” Ford said. “And that’s what really paid off for him in these really tight competitions.”
What’s special about Alvarado’s gaudy resume is the way he assembled it. After a successful season on the track last spring, he chose not to go to the World Youth Qualifiers. Instead he decided to take some time off and build a solid base for cross country training.
“This past summer was the best summer training I’ve ever had with my peak mileage at about 65 miles, it definitely set the tone for what I wanted to accomplish this year,” Alvarado said.
He also credited cross country team camp to his success.
“The past three years I have gone with our varsity cross country team to Bethel, N.Y. to attend a week long running camp called The Running School. The Running School is very special to me because it is where my passion for running sparked heading into my sophomore year. It’s not only a great opportunity to improve as a runner but you meet a lot of friends that you see at various meets throughout the year. Easily one of the best highlights in the past three summers for me.”
The work this summer was indicative through the year. Not being challenged until later in the season Alvarado still managed to be a force to reckon with. He repeated as the SCC individual champion and then went on to win the Class LL title by 17 seconds.
“One of the hardest things to do in running is to push the pace in a race when you do not have to push the pace,” Alvarado said.
In the postseason, he earned All-State, finished fourth at the New England Championships despite being sick. Two weeks later he took second place (15:21) at the Northeast Foot Locker regional race at Van Cortlandt Park in N.Y. to qualify for the Foot Locker Nationals for the second straight season; a rare feat for an runner.
Now, Alvarado turns his attention to the indoor track season.
“I know what I want to achieve in track long term this year which includes breaking the state 3200 record of 8:58 and running a 4:05 mile but there is still so much more that I’m looking forward to in track,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun for me individually and as a team.”