Jason Byrne (flrunners.com): A lot of people will be happy to hear that you are staying in state for college, but how did you finally decide on UF over so many of the top programs in the country that you were considering?
Steven Hassen: I traveled all over the country but the best place for me was right here at the University of Florida. I really like Coach Pigg and the guys on the team, and I'm really excited about being able to contribute to their team and help take them to the next level. I think it is a really exciting time to be a Gator.
JB: Do you already have a good relationship with a many guys on team?
SH: The school is fairly close to my house so I am able to go up there on a fairly regular basis. I have talked to the guys and I really really like them. I think that Steve Zeminski and Cory Presinick are really great guys and great runners and have the ability to make Florida great in Cross Country. Plus they have Moise Joseph who seems like a really good captain and team leader. I think all the guys on the team are great and we will really excel next year both in cross and on the track.
JB: These recruits have made the Gators a real deal national threat, has Coach Pigg set any team goals yet? Or any time period where he thinks you all might be able to be top twenty or top ten team?
SH: I think they are capable of being a top twenty team in cross now even with out myself on the team. I really think that next year we will be able to shake things up and qualify for nationals. Next year is a long time away and im sure that the guys on the team and myself will be ready to really shake things up when the time comes.
JB: Did you feel like you needed to make this decision before Outdoors got under way and take that stress off of you? Or did it just happen like that?
SH: I really wanted to make my decision before March so I could really focus on outdoor. I wasn't tring to rush it, but I took all my visits, sat down with my coach and family and decided that the best choice for me both in running and academics was the University of Florida and I'm very happy.
JB: What are the big meets that you will be competing at this spring?
SH: I plan on running Nike Indoors, Arcadia, and Adidas Outdoors. I also plan to run Florida Relays and probably Golden South.
JB: Do you have any goals time-wise?
SH: It's a little to early to really set those time goals right now but I'm really feeling in great shape and that my body is ready to take my running to the next level. Right now I just want to improve from last year and help my team out as much as possible.
JB: Will you be focusing on one event when state comes around? If so I'd assume it would be the 3200?
SH: Thats another decision that will be made a little later on in the year. Depending on how im doing in each event will probably help me make that decision.
JB: How many years have you been running, Steven? And what were your first experiences with the sport?