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Polar Bear of the Week: Max Russo ’24

February 9, 2024

Max Russo ’24 is leaving his competition in the dust this season. Last weekend, Russo broke the school and state record in the 600m at the Maine State Championship and achieved a personal best in the 400m (49.11) at the New England Small College Invite in January. Heading into the last four weeks of the indoor season, the men’s track team also earned the Maine State Championship title for the first time since 2018, defeating Bates College by 27 points.

“We won as a team, which was really a goal we were setting out for. It was awesome and I think it definitely did live up to the expectations that we wanted it to,” Russo said.

Russo participated in both track and lacrosse in high school. He was torn between the two at the end of his high school career, but decided to stick with track after a successful season. Russo began his collegiate athletic career during the Covid-19 pandemic, giving him an extra year of eligibility. He plans on continuing his track career in graduate school.

Reflecting on his career at the College, Russo emphasizes how different this season has been—particularly in terms of his personal effort.

“I always tried sophomore and junior year, but this year I’ve started taking it a lot more seriously than I have in past years, so that’s definitely helped me to continue running faster,” Russo said. “I’ve definitely been recovering better outside of practice.”

Russo also emphasizes the importance of being focused and relaxed during competitions.

“The previous week I put too much pressure on myself and I kind of had a bad race,” Russo said. “So [this time] I was really focused on running relaxed. I just wanted to have a good race and the 600 is my best event, so going into it, I knew I could run fast as long as I ran relaxed and was smooth. I ended up doing a lot better.”

In his last collegiate competitions as a senior, Russo cites Head Coach LJ Que and his teammates as his inspiration.

“[Que has] inspired me a lot in running and outside of running…. My teammates also really inspire me and I love going to practice every day because of them,” Russo said. “It’s so fun to just be around the table laughing with everyone on the team.”

As the indoor track season comes to an end, the Polar Bears are preparing for the outdoor season.

“[As a team] we’ve been doing these really hard interval workouts…. The workouts start to get faster and faster [throughout the season],” Russo said.

With the school and state record behind him, Russo is now setting his sights on going to Nationals this year.

“I didn’t make Nationals last year, so [I’m] hoping to do that this year in the 400m…. I would want to run the … all-time best time in the 600m because what I ran this weekend was … number three in Division III,” Russo said. “I’m the second off from the all-time number one, so I would love to get that.”

Russo and the track and field team will compete at the Valentine’s Invite in Boston, Mass. this weekend.


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