Since arriving at Otsego as a freshman, he began making his mark on Otsego Cross Country history. There was always talk of how good he’d be, and by his senior year he proved it. But he didn’t travel an easy road for those four years. His list of accomplishments is the result of hard work, dedication and a laser-like focus on what it would take to meet his goals. He’s been a conference champion, regional champion, state track champion and an all-state cross country runner but finally captured that cross country state championship this year crossing the finish line first for Division 2 with a time of 15:23.
“It felt so great to cross the line knowing I was a State champion,” he says, “When I crossed the line, I was just thinking back on the four years I’ve had. I have been so blessed to be able to be healthy and have a great four years at Otsego. My time in cross is coming to an end and I am just treating every race like my last.
“Coming in as a freshman, I set really high goals for my year and for the future. I have had so many people to look up to and to be able to work with. Being able to do it at this school has meant so much to me,” he adds.
Running at a Division 1 school was one of those goals; that is now a reality. Earlier this fall, he committed to Syracuse University and signed the papers to officially run cross country and track this week. “It feels great to have the decision made and to just be able to focus on school and running from here on out,” Comerford says.
“I'm really excited to see Alex take the next step in his running and academic career. We've been talking long term goals for a couple years now. And I think he's known that his long, long-term goals are to run at the highest levels even after college,” says Cross Country Coach Steve Long. “I think we put together a pretty solid plan to make that happen, and he's hit each of the benchmarks that he needed to hit to make that happen.”
Comerford has won the indoor 3200m, outdoor 3200m and cross country state championships now, “Each of those titles are special for different reasons,” Long says, “but now that he's accomplished the trifecta, his eyes will likely be focused on national level competition until he heads to Syracuse next June.
That level starts yet this month. His next goal is to make it to the Footlocker National Championships. The qualifying run is in Wisconsin on November 24th, the top 10 go to compete at the championship in San Diego.
Running in college will get him closer to his ultimate goal of running professionally. He’s looking forward to heading to New York to practice with his team who all share the same passion for the sport, “Also being able to elevate my career to the next level.”
While he’s looking ahead at new competition, there are many memorable moments from high school, “As an individual, winning my first cross country state title was my moment memorable moment; as a team, finishing 2nd as a team at State in Cross Country was unreal.”
Coach Long is proud of all of his accomplishments, but says his character will stand out just as much as his records, “Al has high goals, understands better than anyone I've ever coached that excellence comes from training and is willing to put in the work. But, what makes him so special in my mind is his commitment to make himself and everyone around him better. His leadership this fall was outstanding, and he really provided these younger runners with a blueprint for success.”
Comerford is also an exceptional student. He’s currently taking part in a research assignment at Western Michigan University and plans to study Civil Engineering at Syracuse.