Cross country member JP Allera Cross country member JP Allera

For most athletes, sports like cross country seem more like punishment than fun, but the Tartans prove that success can be found in these grueling races. J.P. Allera is an example of this success, having recently been named University Athletic Association (UAA) Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week. As a junior at Carnegie Mellon, Allera looks to be harnessing what he calls Pittsburgh’s “active atmosphere” in his efforts, consistently appearing in the top 10 at the finish line. Allera is a native of Columbia, Md., and while he enjoys the city scenery for college, his hometown is not so limited when it comes to strategic running routes.

Allera, majoring in chemistry and chemical engineering, said his most memorable class is organic chemistry. He credits his professor, Bruce Armitage, for maintaining the students’ interest during the early 8:30 a.m. hour. Allera decided to complete his second major in chemistry because he enjoys the science and engineering facets of the subject. When he’s not studying or running through the woods of a cross country course, Allera maintains musical interests by playing the saxophone and teaching himself the harmonica.

Allera played soccer growing up before reaching high school, but he was really inspired to pursue cross country by his pastor, who also happened to be his high school coach. A past cross country great himself, Allera’s coach was a mentor and a factor in Allera’s present achievements. Allera hopes that his personal and team goals, such as reaching the top four at the conference meet, can be attained this season. He keeps a positive disposition, saying “I never go into a race with the mindset that someone is going to beat me, so when I toe the line, I concede nothing to anybody.” With an attitude like that, it’s no wonder that Allera has been able to perform at top level, and he will be able to continue to persevere to make sure his goals are met.