NORWALK, Conn. – Brien McMahon junior Shnyden Pierre was one of the rare double winners at last month’s Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference track championships. The events in which he struck gold made it even more remarkable.
Pierre won the 200 and 400 meters at the league meet to earn The Daily Voice Athlete of the Month honors for Fairfield County in May. He set a meet record with his time in the 400, running 48.67 to erase a mark set in 2010.
Pierre had a chance to add a third gold. He had the second fastest time in the 100, but a false start in the final cost him that opportunity. Winning the 200 and 400, however, is most unusual. Sprinters who specialize in the shorter distances lack the stamina to run one lap. Runners in the 400 generally don’t have the speed to compete against the top sprinters. Pierre has the perfect blend to run all three events well.
“I think he’s built more for the 400, and we might even play around with the 800 with him at some point,’’ Brien McMahon coach Pat Bradley said. “I attribute it to his work ethic. This year he changed his work ethic and his mentality. We always joke when we watch him run that he’s not always running hard. He just has a smooth way about him.”
Pierre’s best event is the 400, where he has the second fast time in the state this spring. His quickness out of the blocks is key.
“I have a strategy in the 400 to get out as fast as I can,’’ Pierre said. “I’ll relax a little bit and then at about 370 meters I start sprinting again. It’s important that I get a little separation early. That puts more pressure on opponents to try and catch up.”
He is following the footsteps of his brother, Webb, who runs on the track team at Arizona State. Shnyden has similar ambitions to run for a strong college program.
“That’s my main goal,’’ he said. “He runs the same events that I do. I want to show him that I’m a big dog too, that he’s not the only one who can do it. I’d like to run for a college team and eventually run in the Olympics.”
Pierre false started in the 100 when he heard a fan in the background yell “Go!” “I was pretty mad,’’ he said. “I was disappointed I didn’t get to race. I wanted to see if I could’ve done it.”
The unfortunate break may have been a blessing. The interval between the 100 and 400 was pretty short. It also gave him more motivation. “It was pretty grueling,’’ Bradley said. “I don’t know if he had run the 100 whether the 400 would’ve been a different race. I think it showed his maturity as an athlete. He went back and ran a great race in the 400.”
Pierre also qualified for a national meet in June, and he has his eye on the state 400 record of 46.5 seconds.
“The fact that he ran a meet record shows he’s got a lot of potential,’’ Bradley said. “Especially as a junior. When he first started running, we flirted with him as a hurdler. He’s got a lot of talent, but what he’s doing in the work room and his workouts is the reason he’s improving. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
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