Athlete Spotlight: Lenox's Ted Yee
Ted Yee's victory at the Berkshire County Individuals meet last weekend was his fifth win of the fall cross-country season. Yee was awarded one of the coaches' MVP awards after leading the pack through Notchview Reservation and his Lenox Millionaires squad to an Individuals team crown. Yee joined us at The Berkshire Eagle offices this week after an afternoon spent training for the Western Massachusetts championships, which are Saturday at Northfield Mountain.
BERKSHIRE EAGLE: You had a strong freshman season at Lenox, but were gone last year. Where were you?
TED YEE: Last year I was in New Zealand for the whole year. My mom is a doctor and had the opportunity to work in an underserved area, so my whole family went over.
EAGLE: What did you do over there?
YEE: It was a lot of fun, I went to school there. I did run, but they don't have a school team or anything, so you have to find a club team or run on your own. There was one other kid at the school who ran and he went to Nationals and then got a scholarship to run in the U.S.
EAGLE: Who did you run with?
YEE: There was a club that I went with, called the Ashburton Harriers, it's more British style. Ashburton was the name of the town, and it was run by a guy named Joe Ford. A lot of his runners go to the Commonwealth Games, which is a level below the Olympics.
EAGLE: What was it like overall moving your life to New Zealand for a year?
YEE: We found out around December the year before we left, so we had a couple months. It was cool, though. I got to do a lot of hiking. My sister was taking a gap year, so she went up to Auckland, the bigger city, and wound up getting an internship in China, so we got to go visit her there.
EAGLE: When did you start running competitively?
YEE: It was seventh grade, when I got to Lenox. Ely Carroll and I started and we did like 28 minutes for a 5K. So then we got faster and faster. Me, Ely and Colin Young were the three seventh-graders that year.
EAGLE: How did the three of you improve?
YEE: When you run with a team, you just get a lot faster. Running in New Zealand, alone, just wasn't that fun. When you're here, you have a team and you show up every day after school and put in the work.
EAGLE: Without getting too much into strategies, how do you see Western Mass. playing out this year?
YEE: I'm thinking it will probably be us and Monument Mountain from Berkshire County, and then Hampshire with Chris Vayda, who won last year and is pretty fast, will be there too. We're going to try to use Vayda and those other teams to pace off of them.
EAGLE: What can you tell us about the course at Northfield Mountain?
YEE: I ran there two years ago in ninth grade, and then we went up Tuesday to practice. It's tough. It's 400 meters flat, then a mile uphill and two miles downhill, but the uphill is steep. That's what everybody knows about Northfield. We've been able to prepare by running the hill right behind our school and then another place locally, too.
EAGLE: What's the story with the caution tape headbands?
YEE: That started a couple years ago with the seniors on the cross-country skiing team, they just ripped it off a role they grabbed from somewhere. Then two years ago they got actual headbands, and everybody on that team has one. I brought mine to New Zealand and wore it there.
EAGLE: Where are you from?
YEE: I was born in Maine, and moved to Dalton when I was eight. We live right by the sand and gravel quarry, which is cool. The Appalachian Trail goes right along there, and there's a bunch of ponds and trails.
EAGLE: What are you looking to do after high school?
YEE: Definitely starting to look at colleges. There's the NESCAC cross-country championships at Mount Greylock this weekend with a bunch of Division III schools. We're going to go up and run there, see some people we know and meet the colleges.
EAGLE: What's your favorite course to run in Berkshire County?
YEE: The course they made at BCC was nice when they had it there. They don't anymore, but it was really fast.
EAGLE: What do you like about attending Lenox?
YEE: It's a smaller school, but it has a lot of clubs you can do. Pretty good academics, too. We have quiz team trivia, and I might do mock trial this year. I probably want to study engineering. There's an engineering and tech class and then I may try out robotics this year.
EAGLE: After a big race, what meal are you reaching for?
YEE: Something hot. Chili is usually good when they have that at the invitationals. I like Pho a lot, it's a Vietnamese soup I got used to growing up.
This interview was conducted, edited and condensed by Mike Walsh.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.