Running is the punishment for most sports, but for cross country, running is your sport. What keeps you motivated to keep going during a race or practice? I find that self-belief and my obligation to my teammates are strong motivational forces during practice and races. My thoughts also drift towards people that inspire me, particularly my two older brothers, Frank and Scott, who are two of the best runners in Lawrence’s history.What has been your biggest personal accomplishment this season? What has been the team’s biggest feat this year so far? My biggest accomplishment thus far is my 31-second personal best at the Loyola meet Sept. 27. My time, 28 minutes, 29 seconds, is by no means stellar but it is a huge improvement over last year and a great start for me. The team’s biggest accomplishment occurred at the same meet. We had many personal bests and a strong showing against other Division III teams.
In a team with no senior members, how have members of the team stepped up to leadership roles that are so often associated with runners who are in their last year of competition? The amount and quality of leadership on the team is exceptional. Several juniors and sophomores have stepped into noticeable leadership roles during workouts and races and the team has prospered as a result. Their example has also inspired our freshmen to step into leadership roles of their own to help the team in achieving our season goals.
If there is one particular race, not necessarily a cross country race, that you would like to run during your lifetime, what would it be and why? Well, the most honest answer I can give would be the 1,500-meter or 800-meter Olympic final. I have always regarded the Olympics as being the highest level of athletic competition in the world, and it would be a great honor to represent my country, myself and my family in such an endeavor. The 1,500-meter and the 800-meter are my two favorite events in track, and it would be a remarkable experience to run them at such a high level of competition — although I’m willing to admit it is a bit of a pipe dream.
What is the best piece of advice you have received prior to running a race? Why was it so meaningful? The best advice I have ever received would be what my old coach Jen Jacobsen said to me right before my heat of the 800-meter at an outdoor track conference my freshmen year: “Just remember, you love running and you love running fast!” This advice summed up the biggest reason I run and it is something I always keep in mind prior to races.