CVU harrier Eastman just a cool customer
By Mal Boright
September 5th, 2013
Champlain Valley Union High’s senior and leading cross country runner just runs and runs and keeps on running.
Except for her weekly ice bath.
How is that again?
Yes, once a week Eastman gets into the chilly cubes to restore limbs and muscles worn down by constant distance running.
“It’s hard to get in, but after the first minute it is okay,” she said. “Your body is numb.”
This season Eastman has taken up the leadership role of the defending state champion girls cross country team, which lost three leading veterans by graduation—Taylor Spillane, Julienne Devita and Aleksey Jordick.
Despite the departures, Eastman predicted the future remains bright for the Redhawks.
“We feel good,” she said with her customary grin. “We have a good group of freshmen. In the next couple of years we will be as strong as ever.”
The senior runner said the team is aiming for another state title and made a few believers last Saturday with a victory in the annual CVU relays, Eastman’s three-girl team taking first place.
With Eastman leading the 2013 team, veteran coach Scott Bliss is comfortable with that.
“Autumn is a great young woman,” he wrote to the Observer via e-mail. “She has an unbelievable work ethic.”
Bliss said that after her freshman year on junior varsity, Eastman increased her training to improve as a sophomore and then took her training to a whole new level the summer of her junior year.
“That was an amazing year, topping it off with one of the best performances at the state track meet that I have ever seen,” Bliss said.
The coach added that this summer Eastman has her training at yet another level and is “performing better than last year in all of her time trials.”
In the state title meet last year, Eastman finished second to Spillane and then took an eighth place in the New England meet.
Spring success came at the Division 1 state track meet where she won the 500- and 1,500-meter events and was part of the record-setting 4-by-800 relay team.
Oh yeah. In the winter, Eastman is a Nordic skier.
When talking of conditioning for grueling cross country runs, Eastman also emphasizes the importance of keeping the head on straight.
“I can’t stress enough how mental running is,” she said. “There is no way to get rid of pain and/or fatigue (other than) to mentally get rid of it.”
Now in her fourth season of high school picking ‘em up and laying ‘em down, does Eastman have a favorite course?
She says she takes them as they come, although she likes the hilly ones.
“Every course is unique,” she added.
She said she is looking ahead to college, but has not chosen one yet. She said she has been contacted by some schools. She is looking at cross country and possibly Nordic skiing while taking courses in medicine.