AtlanticU23 #058 - Max Mazerolle (New Brunswick)
Posted 3 weeks ago
Hometown: Cocagne, NB
Birth Year: 2002 (U20 age class)
Club: Athlétisme Sud-Est / South-East Athletics
Coach: Peter Stuart
Personal Bests (as of May 11th, 2020): 60mh (39 inches): 9.01, 110mh (36 inches): 15.50, Pole Vault: 3.40m, Pentathlon (U18 specs): 2830, Decathlon (U18 specs): 5262
5 quick questions with Max:
Favorite magical or mythological animal? Definitely Dobby the House Elf from Harry Potter
Ice cream or cake? How about ice cream cake?
What superpower would you most like to have? Time manipulation, so that I have time to get everything done that I would like to in a day
Would you rather be the absolute best at something that no one takes seriously or be average at something well respected? Average at something well respected because in this case, I would always have someone else to look up to and make me work harder
If you could be somebody else for a day, who would you be? Probably Hunter Woodhall – Paralympic silver and bronze medalist at the age of 17, and first double amputee to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship…he's the definition of determination.
How did you first get involved in track and field?
I’ve been running since a very young age. I started getting involved in school cross country in kindergarten, then got involved in the Run, Jump, Throw program at the age of 9. Sixth grade was my first eligible year for the Jeux de l’Acadie – I had qualified and ran the 1200m at the Games in Bathurst and finished in last place. Looking back on that it taught me to not get overly disappointed in myself. Really, I only started focusing on track and field about three years ago, taking the hard decision of having to let go of most of my sports to train 3-4 times a week in Moncton.
While having contested various track and field events over the years, you only began the multi-event last year, completing your first pentathlon in February and your first decathlon in June. What first sparked your interest in the multi-event?
Coming from a multi-sport background I was used to practicing multiple sports at the same time during the year. I started out as a mid-distance runner for my first year or so and started trying out different events such as jumps, 400m, and 400mh. Seeing one of my training partners at the time training for the decathlon had a big impact on me switching. I was constantly seeing myself in the same training group as him during practice, so I think the idea just came naturally. As soon as I brought the idea to my coach (Peter Stuart), he instantly agreed. He would have probably brought up the idea later.
Over the years, you’ve trained and competed in track and field, hockey, soccer, badminton, and ultimate frisbee, among various other sports. How has your multi-sport background prepared you for the multi-event?
The main thing would have to be being able to mentally transition in-between events. Practicing multiple sports forces you to switch strategies, techniques, and overall your mental awareness. By playing multiple sports, it also helps develop overall abilities, and in the multis you definitely need this physical aspect since you compete in most track and field events. Some athletes actually double in sports at a high level – being a double sport elite athlete is a whole other kettle of fish. I have huge respect for them and what they accomplish during their careers.
Additionally, you’ve recently taken up ice cross racing, placing 1st among juniors and 6th overall at the Xtreme Race in Memramcook back in February. Compared to the world of athletics, lots of questions come to mind – how did you first get involved in ice cross racing; how do you train for the sport; and how prevalent is the sport here in Atlantic Canada?
For those who don’t know much about the sport, ice cross downhill is a race where athletes – fully equipped with hockey gear – go down a 300-600m ice track with jumps, turns, rollers, and much more different obstacles. In each heat there is 4 athletes racing down the track – the best 2 move on until 4 athletes remain.
For me it all started five years ago when an athlete from back home – Bruno Richard who has been on the world circuit for 10 years now – hosted a training camp promoting the sport here in New Brunswick. He has been the face of the sport for the province since his debut. Since then there have been five races contested here in New Brunswick, one of which was part of the world circuit, and the others being simply amateur events. The sport has been making its mark around the world, getting bigger each year. Here in Atlantic Canada, we do have a few athletes who compete at numerous races on the world circuit each winter. Training methods are different for each athlete but most of them train during the summer at the local skate parks with roller blades and a few pieces of hockey protection gear.
At last year’s Canadian Legion Track & Field Championships, you represented Team New Brunswick in the decathlon, placing 9th with a score of 5147. Tell us about your experience competing at the Championships, and the opportunity to compete at a national event so close to home (hosted in Cape Breton, NS). Were you happy with your performances?
This was actually my first time at the Championships. Just missing the cut the two years prior by one spot really made me eager to get the taste of a national level competition. My performance at last year's trials ranked me 3rd in the selection group. It was everything and more than I imagined. Considering that last year was considered one of the best Legion Championships from a wide group of people, I’m glad that I got the chance to be part of it in my last year of eligibility. The most special thing about it being close (enough) from home was that my family got the chance to come support me during my two days of competition. I wasn’t worried about my score but mostly focusing on enjoying and appreciating every moment as the week went by. But at the end of my competition I was indeed proud of myself and the score I put up.
In mid-March, the NBIAA cancelled all spring sports and the remainder of the hockey season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What perhaps has been most disappointing in not having the opportunity to contest your final high school track and field season?
You would probably suspect me saying being able to compete, but for me it was the total opposite, it would have been the opportunity to coach. Since taking up the multi-events, I have had numerous opportunities to work with multiple coaches other than my own Peter and Alex Stuart – just to name a few: Dr. Earl Church, Alex Witmer, David Foley, and Boo Schexnayder. This allowed me to grasp different technics and points of views. Back to the coaching aspect, it all started last year when my high school coach asked me to help out with most of the field events since she was a great sprinter during her time in the sport and didn’t know a lot about this field events. Having the opportunity to help out my friends surpassed their expectations in which they never expected to do as well as they did, and also enjoy themselves in, for some, their first track meets. As soon as I was done one of my events, I would immediately go on to the other side of the track, whether it be the shot put or triple jump, and would try my best to give them the best of my knowledge, coaching advice. We went on to win our third consecutive NBIAA Championship banner.
You were set to compete at the Canadian Indoor Championships in Montreal back in March, but just over a week prior learned that the competition would also be cancelled as a result of the pandemic. What were your goals for the Championships, and how was your indoor season progressing towards a big performance at these Championships?
I had been waiting on this event since after Legions. We based my indoor season around this event so that I would be in contention for a medal in the U20 pentathlon. We took the decision to not compete as much this indoor season to focus on training rather than competition. I did do a few meets but only doing up to two events, mostly pole vault and speed events. We took this opportunity to take our time to work on the technical aspects of the multi rather than rushing through the events to achieve decent performances right away. Looking at the Championship meet itself, I was hoping to lower my time in the hurdles as well as add quite a bit of distance in the long jump – hoping to push towards that 3000pts. I was even more disappointed about the Atlantic Championships being cancelled because I was hoping to vault one last time this winter. Coming up to the event, I was in great shape to be knocking on the provincial record.
Assuming that you will be trying out for New Brunswick’s Canada Games team in 2021, have you started to practice with implements at Senior specs (heavier shot, discus, and javelin, and higher hurdles)?
Having our outdoor season cut short (basically ended before it even started), I haven't really touched any of the new specs other than javelin and discus, which I have at home.
Aside from the decathlon, are there any individual events that you are interested in trying out for?
Chances are that I will try out for the individual pole vault as well. I’ve been putting a lot of work in the event this past winter and planning on doing the same from here on out.
You train and compete as a member of Moncton-based Athlétisme Sud-Est / South-East Athletics, training under Coach Peter Stuart. With so many events to prepare for, what does the few weeks of training look like prior to a decathlon, and how is your training structured to develop your abilities in all ten events?
So a normal in-season week would have to be something like this. Some things get switched around most of the time, but we try to touch a little bit on every event each week.
Monday: Hurdle practice and block starts
Tuesday: Speed and shot put
Wednesday: Easy run and strength training
Thursday: Speed, javelin, discus, and long jump
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Pole vault, high jump, and combined-events finish
Sunday: Easy run and strength training
In 2015, Athletics Canada made a substantial change to the U18 boy’s multi-event: the octathlon became the decathlon (adding pole vault and discus). As an athlete who has progressed through the sport after this change had already been enacted – and having never contested the former octathlon – what are your thoughts on this change? Have you found the discus or pole vault to be more challenging than any of the other events?
Personally I think Athletics Canada could have kept the octathlon for the U18 age group. Simply having to add two events is a big change for young athletes. You need to get used to starting with the 100m, learn to throw the javelin, and also having to finish day 1 with the 400m. The pent (U16) to the dec (U18) is even harder, adding 5 events. Adding pole vault and discus, two very technical events, on top of the others sure has a toll on an athlete mentally as well as physically, during the competition as well as in practice.
What is your favourite and least favourite event in the decathlon?
Favorite would have to be a strong tie between the 110mh and pole vault – must be the adrenaline pump during the events. Having almost no-heighted twice in multis, least favorite has to be the high jump.
Beyond those events that comprise the multi-events, you’ve also contested the 300m, 800m, 400mh, relays, and even cross country, among others. If you had to drop the multi-events in favour of a different event group, which event(s) would you specialize in and why?
I would have to choose pole vault and short hurdles because they are events in which I have the most fun practicing. Even though hurdles can be mentally tough sometimes, I still enjoy doing them. Most people have a tendency of being afraid of vaulting but once you learn the event, its nothing but fun.
Aside from running, jumping, and throwing, what are some of your other hobbies?
I mostly enjoy doing some outdoor activities such as kayaking, bike rides, snow shoeing, skiing, and playing golf. When it’s not so nice outside, I don’t mind sitting down to watch a few TV series.
Hosted by New Brunswick-born track runner, administrator, and coach Brandon Scott LeBlanc, AtlanticU23 is an interview series with upcoming Atlantic Canada track and field athletes under the age of 23.
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