The junior runner added a second state medal to his collection with a runner-up finish in the PIAA Class 1A boys cross country championship Saturday in Hershey.
Here is more from Sunday’s interview…
Other sports you play: Swimming and track and field.
Athletes you admire: Kobe Bryant and Michael Phelps.
Any sports teams you follow: I’m a big Eagles and Lakers fan, and Notre Dame football, of course.
Superstitions or rituals on race day? Biggest superstition I’d say is I always wear the same pair of socks. Since I was in seventh or eighth grade I’ve been wearing the same pair of socks. They’re starting to wear out on the bottom, so I’m hoping I can get through this year with them.
Three people you’d like to have dinner with. Kobe Bryant, Elon Musk and Barack Obama.
Most famous athlete you’ve ever met? Noah Syndergaard. I was at a Mets game and they were signing stuff before the game so I had him sign a baseball that I had.
When eventual winner Jack Miller started to pull away, what goes through your mind? At that point I still was focused on staying with him for as long as I could. At the point you realize you can’t match, you have to refocus and make sure I’m staying where I am while still trying to make up that ground. But it kind of switches to your trying to maintain where you are.
It’s a race that requires endurance, yet a sprint at the start. The first quarter mile is very open and then it narrows into a turn so you have to go really hard so you don’t get caught up in the outside of that turn.
As a freshman, you were 33rd, fourth as a sophomore, second as a junior. Is it safe to assume what your goal is for next year? I’m proud of what I’ve done so far but I know that I’ve worked hard to get to this point and I think I’d be selling myself short if I didn’t want to go after that one last spot.
How confident does that make you as you go forward? It’s a good confidence booster. You can never get too wrapped up in one individual race, but when you have a good season, it gives you the determination to train hard and look forward to the next season to see what you can do then.
Having teammates Kevin Jumper and Thomas Lee lining up next to you for the start, does that help you relax as you get ready for the start? It was great to have those two there this year. My first two years I went alone as an individual. It was nice to have more of a team quality to it. It wasn’t just me out there. It really tones it down because when you are out there by yourself, it can be a little intimidating with 200 some people you are competing against. It’s nice to know you have those two people there for you.
What is that start like, with so many athletes trying to get to the front in a limited amount of space and time? The start of a race like that is an experience like no other. You have to focus on yourself, focus on not running into anybody and just trying to get out the best you can. You don’t want to get caught up in that.
Any big invitationals coming up before you get ready for swim season? I have cross country regionals in three weeks and I have a tune-up race at Temple next weekend.
Does swimming help you with your training? You get that good cardio benefit but you’re not putting so much stress on your body when you run. I think it’s definitely helped me the last couple years to add that in, in addition to running.