Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m from Lexington, Kentucky. I have three older brothers, so I’m the youngest – the baby of the family. I went to a private high school and I started running when I was a freshman in high school, and I’ve done that ever since. All my brothers went there too. My mom and dad were both born in Kentucky.
What inspired you to start running?
My brother Aaron started running, and we were both soccer players growing up. But he started running and then my dad said I was going to do running – they didn’t really give me a choice! So that summer of my freshman year, I started running. Aaron and I were on the same team for two years, and I really enjoyed it. So I kept at it and I got a lot better, and our team had a lot of success. Actually, we went to a few state championships, so we had a lot of fun.
What brought you to Hillsdale?
So I came to Hillsdale because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, and I wanted to give the liberal arts perspective a try. And as cliché as that is, I wanted to kind of understand what actually interests me in school. I’ve been chasing the sciences here and getting a wide grasp of classes and trying to see what I really like the most. Right now, I think I’ll do either physics or chemistry – maybe materials engineering or chemical engineering. I’m not sure yet.
What has been your favorite class so far?
Dr. Hayes [of the Physics department] is a different kind of teacher. He wants you to succeed, but he really prioritizes getting the concepts down over just doing math problems. So the class was really difficult, we had two labs a week, and that was the hardest part. But understanding the concepts made it so awesome, when they finally click in your head. We did electricity and magnetism and I just thought that was so cool.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? I don’t have a lot of that right now. I enjoy reading just normally sometimes. I’m a big Tolkien fan, so Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and I’ll read political books too. Every summer I get a few because I kind of have a side interest in politics. Sometimes I’ll just go and nap. Maybe I’ll play video games every now and then.
What motivates you to keep going when you’re exhausted?
It’s something about being on my team with a bunch of guys who are doing the same things you’re doing. We’re all there because we’re really motivated to run and to work as a unit, and we really endure a lot of pain for each other. It’s really special when you’re on the line with a bunch of guys who are ready to do whatever it takes to win.
What goes through your mind during a race?
When you get to the harder parts, you’re really trying to get your mind off running because, you know, your legs are hurting. Or you’re thinking, ‘Oh, wow, this is really tough right now.’ Sometimes if it’s cross country, you can just focus on the course ahead of you or focus on your competitors. Track racing is a lot harder for me than cross country because you’re just on an oval the whole time.
Tell me about some highlights from last season.
So the last cross country season I was pretty worried going in because it was my first season. I was walking on, there were a bunch of guys I didn’t know. But a highlight was just getting to know my team a lot better and racing at the Regional meet. We hosted it here at Hayden Park. That was awesome because it was the perfect atmosphere, it was just starting to snow a little bit, and it was on our home course. I really had a great race that day. It was my first 10K.
What are your goals for next season? What are you most looking forward to?
Well, our big team goal is to make it to Nationals for cross country. We have to race a lot of G‑MAC schools, which is our conference. So Walsh, Malone…but they’re pretty good, so we really have to fight to get to the top five. We’re really trying to get there because the girls have been there the last few years.
What advice would you give to freshman who are trying to combine sports and academics at Hillsdale?
You really have to stay motivated all the time, and you need to prioritize. So when you need to study, you need to sit down and study. It’s okay to do it with your friends sometimes and study as a group and mess around. But sometimes you need to just go to the library and work for a few hours on your own. It’s sad to hear, but when you have hard classes you have to do that. You have to get sleep too, unfortunately. Back in high school I used to just stay up late all the time, doing work and stuff and I really suffered because of that. So in college, I really prioritize getting more sleep. In the end, when you can perform well academically and athletically, it’s a great feeling.