(Photo provided by Joe Romaine)
First of all, how did you first get involved
with track & field?
I started track in 8th grade because I had always been considered fast in whatever sport I played. I knew whatever sport I did in college I wanted to be good at it and long distance track was my best chance.
What are all your personal records?
As of now my PRs are 1600-4:30, 3200-9:44, and 800-2:04ish, but I have never run an open 800. I have always been underwhelmed by my performance in track and hope to break out this year.
Do you do, or have you done, any other sports?
I used to play baseball, football, and basketball. I quit all of them to focus on running but played basketball until junior year.
What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?
In track my most memorable competition is the conference meet of my sophomore year. I guess I got super lucky none of the amazing guys did the 3200 so I came in expecting to get like 5th and realized I had a chance to win halfway through. 9:49 wasn't a bad time for me and I won a conference meet as a sophomore which was pretty sweet. It only made it better it was me vs a pack of Stillwater guys the entire time and I pulled away.
Other than your own teammates, who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?
I do not really have a favorite opponent. There are definitely names I look for come race time but I see every race as me against all runners and they just blend together.
Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career?
Some of the most helpful people in my career have been my first coach who coached me my first three years in CC and my newest coach who has helped me a lot this year. On top of them, I am indebted to Nick Wareham who was a mentor of mine the first two years, I learned a lot from him and we are friends who run together whenever he's home from Georgetown. His father Pete who coaches at St. Thomas was also someone who always had his door open to me whenever I needed help.
What is a challenge you have had to face as an athlete?
A challenge I have had to face is I have had several dehydration issues throughout my career. In summers there would be consecutive weeks where I would run in the mornings and have that be followed with extreme migraines. At XC State junior year I threw up after the race due to heat, and senior year the heat played a very very big role in my race. I have learned to manage how much I am drinking and have minimized these issues since.
What are your main goals for this upcoming track season?
My goals are very blunt for this year because I think you need to be specific to reach a goal. In the 1600 I would like to break my former teammate's school record of 4:18 and in the 3200 I wanna be at least below 9:30. These are high goals and I'm fully aware of that but I have never believed I reached my full potential in track.
Have you approached this year any differently than previous years that may make a difference?
This year we have a new distance coach who has helped our team tremendously. We had our best cross country team in Woodbury's history this fall, and track is looking even better. He has pushed me to focus on my offseason training as well as weights and how I eat, which are things I never really emphasized before. It is also our goal to peak at the end of the season, so that is when I hope to be running my best times rather than treating every meet the same way.
As a senior, how have your perspectives, strategies, or attitudes changed since you first started running, what advice would you give to younger track athletes?
As a Senior I have learned that my body is able to go about as hard as I push it, and distance running is not only about preperation but how deep you're willing to dig to run fast. I have also developed a larger perspective on the season and learned that it is ok to have bad races early on so that I am more succesful in the more important races. I would tell young track athletes that they have already made a great first step in running at a young age, and to understand they have a long track career ahead of them so trusting the process is key.
Do you have any college plans?
For college, I will be running for either Drake in Des Moines or Loyola in Chicago. My decision will be made in the next week or so.
What has attracted you to both of those schools, and what will the deciding factor probably end up being?
I had always heard Drake and Loyola were quality schools so when I was shown interest early on by both I knew I had to look into them. Everyone knows the Drake Relays and Loyola has the city of Chicago to its expense, so both have a glamour side to them. It was important to me to find places that I would want to be at even if my running career ended abruptly. In terms of deciding factors, I looked for a feel for the team, strong business school (my major), resources, and where I felt most comfortable overall. Unfortunately after visiting the two multiple times it is very hard to make a decision, but it feels like I am in a win-win situation regardless.
Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?
I do not have pre-race rituals other than trusting God has a plan for whatever will happen, and good or bad I will praise him for putting me where I am.
When not doing anything track-related, what might we find you doing?
My teammates and I are very into professional sports like basketball and football. We also just went on a cruise together, so hanging with them is pretty common.
Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.
One bizarre fact about me is I still wear basketball shorts (yes, the ones that go down to your knees) to all practices. I know this is very uncommon among serious distance runners and I would be laughed at if I did this in college, but for now, the rest of my team is doing it as well.