Pete Sherry first began running as a senior for the Horace Greely High (N.Y.) boys’ cross country team in the mid-1980s. He has had a passion for running ever since.
Sherry, head coach of the Herndon High boys’ and girls’ cross country programs since the fall of 2005, excelled as a college runner locally at Georgetown University before endeavoring on a successful professional career in the sport. Over recent years, he has found his niche as a high school coach.
“People always ask me if I would ever like to coach in college, but I really like being a high school coach,” said Sherry, who grew up in Chappaqua, N.Y., located just north of New York City.
Sherry, who grew up playing baseball and following the New York Yankees, found quick success as a long distance runner, nearly qualifying for states in his first season running as a high school senior. As a collegiate runner for the Hoyas, highlights included being part of a winning 4 x one-mile relay team at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia and taking second in the 5,000 event at the 1991 NCAA championships in Eugene, Oregon. He earned All-American honors at Georgetown in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter events.
Out of college, Sherry signed with Adidas and turned pro. From 1991 through 2004 he was considered an elite distance runner. In 2003 he finished first in the renowned Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington. He earned a third place finish in the 3,000 event at the U.S. Nationals indoor championships in 2000.
And in the U.S. Nationals outdoor championships, Sherry earned sixth place finishes in both the 5,000 (1991) and 10,000 (1993) races, as well as a seventh place showing in the 5,000 in 2001.
He earned a medal In the 5,000 race at the World University Games in 1991. In both 1992 and 2000 Sherry qualified to compete in the 5,000 and 10,000 events at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Injuries prevented him from having a chance to participate at the Trials in both 1996 and 2004.
Sherry loved his career as a pro runner, but struggled through various injuries.
“The hardest part was staying healthy for me,” said Sherry, who resides with his family in Great Falls. “It was a big commitment. It was my life. I had a dream of making the Olympics team. There was a lot of traveling and a lot of sacrifices.”
<b>FOLLOWING</b> his running career, Sherry got into coaching. He was an assistant coach for both the McLean High cross country and track and field programs for two years beginning in 1996 before becoming head coach of the Highlanders. He moved to Herndon High in 2002 where he served as an assistant coach under former head coach Mike Mahoney (currently Herndon’s director of student activities) for three years. He became the Hornets’ head cross country coach in the fall of 2005. He is also currently co-head coach of the Herndon track program.
He has been won over by both Herndon High and the Herndon community as a whole.
“I love the schools’ administration,” said Sherry. “Mike is wonderful to work for. I was surprised how tight the community and the teachers are.”
Sherry’s girls’ cross country team captured the Northern Region title in 2007. (He was an assistant when the girls took the state crown in 2003). In the spring of 2005, his Herndon boys garnered third place at Penn Relays in the Championship of America distance medley relays.
Sherry is married to Faith. The couple has three daughters.
Occasionally, when he can, Sherry makes the trek up north to attend Yankees’ games. Growing up, his father would take Pete and his two brothers to Yankee Stadium. He was in attendance for the first game of the then-renovated Yankees’ Stadium in 1976 and witnessed Reggie Jackson belting three home runs in one game of the 1977 World Series. Sherry, who has attended six or seven Opening Days in the Bronx, says former Yankees’ first baseman Don Mattingly is his favorite all-time favorite ball player.
Sherry and his Herndon team competed at the annual Oatlands Invitational meet in Leesburg this past weekend. Upcoming meets include the League Meet on Wednesday (Sept. 30) at Lake Fairfax and the Great Meadows Invitational at The Plains on Oct. 3.