Gavin and Callum Sherry have dominated cross country and track in West Hartford, in Connecticut, regionally, and nationally – and the twin brothers are ready to begin their next chapter as Division I athletes.
By Paul Palmer
To say Callum and Gavin Sherry are close is an understatement.
The twin brothers have been side-by-side literally their entire lives, especially when it comes to running. In both cross country and track and field, the two have blazed a path rarely seen in the state.
For their next chapter, the Conard Class of 2022 graduates are heading off to college … together. They will be attending Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA starting in the fall.
Was it by design that the duo – who had dozens of offers from all over the country – would end up at the same place? They tell us and fill us in on what hey have been doing to prepare for joining a Cardinal program that has won four NCAA men’s cross-country titles, been the runner-up five times, and has won 15 PAC 10/12 titles as well as a combined seven national titles for indoor and outdoor track.
Callum Sherry said his final year of outdoor track and Conard was thrown off a little when he became ill. But taking a look at some of his accomplishments this spring shows a New England Championship podium finish in the 1600m (second place in a 4:07.13 PR), being part of the school record setting 4×800 relay, placing second in the State Open in the 1600m and 3200m, running in both the 1- and 2-mile events at the New Balance National Outdoor Championships, and being named All-State and All-State Academic.
“My indoor season was my best season of high school. My training got interrupted when I got sick during outdoor and Nationals was a little but tough. I didn’t race the way I wanted to there – it happens,” he said.
In addition to working this summer, Callum has also been working out, and not your usual run around the Reservoir. “After Nationals (in June) I took 10 days off and then got back into it. I went to Norway for a bit. There were a lot of cool trails and mountains and I was able to stick to my work out schedule.”
Callum was in Norway visiting former Conard exchange student Vebjoern Roeed – with whom he has remained close friends – going as far as to learn Norwegian. Roeed teamed with the Sherry brothers and two other Conard runners to set school records in the 2020 indoor season.
Callum has been working a pre-season plan setup by Stanford’s coaching staff that will see him get to 60 miles a week, plus weightlifting, stretching, and band stretching to prepare for the fall. “One thing that’s been big for me throughout high school is how important the mental side of the sport is. A lot of people disregard it but that’s what going to enable you to run consistently and closer to your potential,” Callum said. He’s a big believer in meditation both for racing and handling everyday stress.
Taking the big step both athletically and academically can be challenging, but he feels he is ready for it. “It can be challenging to balance tough academic program and rigorous athletics. In high school, I got good at trying to balance things and I’m excited for it all. I really do have confidence I will be able to balance it as I have always tried to balance things so far,” Callum said.
For much of his high school career, Callum has been somewhat in the shadow of his brother Gavin. He said it has never bothered him at all, and that he concentrates one what he is doing in a race not what anyone else is doing. He adds that there was a lot to learn by training and racing with his brother. “I’ve looked up to him for a long time with running and I plan on continuing to do that.”
About the decision to go to the same school? Callum says it was not planned, and that each made his choice independent of the other brother. “It was almost an inclination not to go to same school just to have a change,” he said. “I knew I would have other people running-wise to look up to. It was not a really important variable. For me it was important to go to the school that was best for me. We made our choices individually. A lot of people tell you to go somewhere where you will contribute right away. For me, running has never been about winning and going to a place like Stanford with people better than me will help me be the best I can be.”
And as for his goals and expectations at Stanford as a freshman, Callum said, “I don’t have any time expectations for the fall. My focus is not only to get the typical training right but the extra training, too. Stanford has a ton of good guys and my goal is to run with people who are better than me and try to hold on and get to their level.”
Gavin Sherry’s outdoor season as a high school senior also did not go as planned. He suffered a recurrence of a foot/leg injury that kept him our of competition for much of the Conard season. It actually started acting up during indoor season – and he thinks it may have just been the stress of running on indoor tracks – but he is using it as a learning experience.
“It let me get an idea of how to deal with an injury. In the outdoor season I ran on the 4×800 relay at the end of the year and didn’t lose much time.” In fact, Gavin, his bother Callum, and teammates Grant Walters and Nicolas Martin set a new school record in the outdoor 4×800.
Gavin has also spent part of his summer training away from home. Just back from a trip to Colorado where he ran with friends and got some altitude work in, Gavin is also on the Stanford pre-season plan and building up to running 60 miles a week.
“Redshirting is up to the coach. I have the feeling we won’t be redshirted for cross country because we have a strong team and a great shot at winning Nationals,” Gavin said. (As a freshman, redshirting happens when a student-athlete attends classes, practices with a team but does not compete. The athletic eligibility then would not begin until their sophomore season and they would have four years remaining to compete.)
In his cross country season senior year at Conard, Gavin had the state’s top time for boys in the 5,000m, shattered the record in the Eastbay Cross Country Championships NorthEast Regional, and finished third at Nationals. He won the State Open and the New England Cross Country Championships.
Indoor season saw him win the 1- and – mile plus the 3000m and 3200m at the New Balance National Indoor Championships. A multiple school and state record holder, he knows that stepping up to NCAA Division I and the Pac-12 is going to bring some changes.
“I think it’s going to be refreshing to be thrown into the pack at the bottom of the barrel again,” he said. “It relieves a lot of the pressure. I know I’m not going to win the race but I want to see how good I can do as a freshman with a group of incredible runners who are far better than me.” That means his view of the race will also be changing. “Being in front – I’m probably gonna miss that for a little while. I learned so much in high school and still have so much more to learn about running.”
Gavin’s success in the classroom and in running brought a lot of opportunities and offers when it came time to choose what college he would attend. “It was a tough decision. There were so many amazing schools out there. I had my list of top schools, and I felt that I fit in the most at Stanford. The academic opportunities are endless and at a certain point it was super difficult to pass up this opportunity,” he said.
And like his brother Callum, Gavin knows that patience will be a key in all he takes on at Stanford. “I’m sure it will be fun and stressful. Overall, I think I am ready. I just need to not bite off more than I can chew at the start.“
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