Former Celebration standout Quincy O'Connor had a great senior year winning district and regional cross country championships before placing fifth at the state meet. Now, he is in his freshman year at Fordham University in the Bronx where he competed in six meets for the Rams. See how his first season went, what he remembers most about his high school days, and what the future has in store.
You decided to go to Fordham University which is in the Bronx. You are from NY how important was it to go back home?
It was not overly important to go back to NY. I have very little family left in the state, so I was not set on going back. The big hope for me was just to get back up north. Though the time I spent in Florida was nice, I definitely prefer the cooler climate in the north. Going back to NY was a bonus.
As a freshman you competed in six cross country meets this year. What was this season like for you? What were some high points and some low points?
The season went well. It was a learning experience; both adjusting to the hilly courses and the longer races took time. A high point for me would be the IC4A championship at the end of the season. Running a personal best at Van Cortlandt Park and having the team finish second in the championship race was a great way to end the year. A low point for me individually would be the NCAA Northeast Regional; whether it was the 10k distance or the fatigue of the season, I just couldn’t put it all together for a good race that day.
Did you have a favorite meet or course?
As far as a favorite course goes it would have to be Van Cortlandt. Training and racing at VCP is awesome. It is such a historic park in the cross-country world, so it is a special place to train and race. Everyone who has made it big in our sport raced there during their careers, so it is an honor to be able to train in their footsteps. The hills took getting use to, but it has been a great place to train so far.
What is the bond like with the team and this group of guys?
The men’s team at Fordham is great. Having 15 others guys to train with everyday makes the training much less daunting. The other great part about it is that the team is all very close. Everyone gets along well and we are all able to hang out and have fun outside of practice as well. Having such a good dynamic definitely helps us to compete well as a team.
What was the biggest adjustment you had to make to compete at the college level?
For me, going from the last two years of high school in Florida and moving back up north, the biggest adjustment was the hills. Florida in general is a very flat state, especially Central Florida where I live. Running in NY is a huge contrast to that. Training runs and races alike are hilly, so the first few weeks of practice were definitely an adjustment.
Is there anything you can tell high school athletes to better prepare them for the college experience?
One thing that I would tell high school athletes is to not be afraid to take a day off. Days off in college are sparse, so I would say don’t be afraid to take a day off every now and then in high school, and make sure that your body is recovering because once you get to college you may not have the same opportunity to do so.
What memories from competing in high school stand out the most?
My senior cross-country season is one that stands out the most for me. Being able to win my conference, district, and regional championship and then finish fifth in the state meet was a great way to end high school in Florida.
What do you miss most about running in high school?
I think I share the sentiment with most of my peers when I say that I miss winning a lot of races, and being one of the top guys. In time we’ll get there in the college ranks, but it was certainly an adjustment going back to the bottom.
What piece of coaching or advice that someone gave you has been the biggest help?
“Take your easy days easy.” This seems like a bit of a cliché, but when you are doing long workouts, especially now during track when I am working out three times a week, it is crucial that easy days are just that; easy.
As we begin a new year. What are your goals for 2013 and beyond?
The main goal at this point is to stay healthy. Indoor track will be a bit of an adjustment for me as well, but to stay healthy and hopefully qualify for the A10 championships and beyond are the goals at the moment.
10,000 Meter Run33:54.90
1,600 Meter Run4:20.68
3200 Meter Run9:37.57
5,000 Meter Run15:36.00
8000 Meter Run27:16.80