Athlete of the Issue: Campbell Herring ’21


Catherine Eristoff

Herring has been running for seven years.

Campbell Herring ’21 is a four-year Senior and captain of Boys Varsity Cross Country. He has been running for seven years and is also a member of the Varsity Track and Field team. Teammate Phil Warren ’23 said, “He’s a terrific leader and does an incredible job encouraging the boys to do their best each and every day.”

What do you love most about the cross country team?

A lot of people consider cross country to be an individual sport. You’re running a mile, not passing a ball back and forth like in soccer or field hockey, but the dynamic in cross country between our guys is something I have never seen before. You’re out there suffering with your brothers. It is a real bond that I don’t think you get anywhere else.

How has your team coped with the pandemic?

Cross country is an oxygen-based sport and an endurance sport, just like cycling or cross country skiing, so wearing masks has been a real difficulty for us just because the mask blocks a lot of airflow, which is really important to have during challenging workouts especially when you’re running. But we stay socially distanced at all times, everyone has their masks on, and we enforce mask-wearing as best we can.

What are you looking forward to this season?

I was really looking forward to coming into my Senior year as the captain of Boys Cross Country this year, and winning our Founders League Championship. I thought we had a really good lineup of guys. So, I had to shift my goals a little bit and think, “What goals are realistic to shoot for?” This season, I want people to leave this team healthier than they were before they started. Cross country is a sport where injuries are extremely common, if you don’t do everything right. I want to educate new runners this year to make our team as strong as possible for next year, even though I won’t be here. But I’ll still come back for the races, because I want to see the boys run.

Who has inspired you during your time on the cross country team?

A captain two years ago, Andrew Sidaman-Eristoff ’19 inspired me. He was a wild kid. His diet was awful – he had PB&Js three meals a day (not kidding). But he had this drive in him. When he came to races, he’d tell the coach, “Oh, I’m not feeling that good today, I don’t know how I am going to do” and then he’d go out and break three records in one day. That is unheard of in three different races. He just knew how to find that extra gear.

The other person was Kostia Howard ’20. He was our captain last year and the best friend I had. He taught me how to be a smart runner. Sixty percent of this sport has nothing to with how you run; it’s all about how you recover and how you treat your body. It’s all these little factors that play huge roles in your success. He told me to get more than five hours of sleep a night, to to be a little bit more consistent, and to treat my body a little bit better. 

What is your favorite memory from past seasons?

Last year, I think we got third or fourth in Founders, and I had lung surgery during the season only two weeks in. It was really, really tough to go into what was supposed to be the best season I had ever had and suddenly not be able to run. However, I got on the spin bike, and I started training as soon as I could. I got back in for the last two races, and I placed on our team, so I was pumped. Being back with my brothers running and helping them place in the championship was a beautiful thing. 

Another time, during my freshman year, I was the only freshman on Varsity and I edged one of the Seniors off, because we can only have seven Varsity members in a race. He was kind of angry about it. I didn’t really know how to feel, because I didn’t want to be a jerk. But when we were taking a team picture after a championship (where we got second), all of the Seniors said, “Hey man, jump in the picture; you’re on Varsity.” That sticks with me, because I know how amazing it feels as a freshman to be called over by a group of Seniors. One of my goals as the captain, the leader of the team, is to make freshmen feel as awesome as I felt that day.

What advice would you give to current and future Hotchkiss athletes?

First, you have to be committed. Cross country is not a sport that you can half-ass. You have to be in it or you have to be out. There truly is no natural “skill” in cross country. You can’t grow up playing it, and so you’re good in high school. It is a constant grind for the whole year. You have to be committed and you have to be committed to your teammates. The other thing I would say is you should take care of yourself. What we do every day is super-taxing, and the only way to get better is to take care of yourself.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.