Freshman John Dressel stepped in as the Colorado Buffaloes' fifth runner at the Pac-12 cross country championship and delivered a stellar performance, coming in as the Buffs' second runner and finishing sixth overall with a time of 23 minutes, 19.4 seconds. With nationals less than two weeks away, Dressel and the Buffs will get their final tuneup Friday at the NCAA Mountain Regional in Albuquerque, N.M.
Q: How has the season played out based on your expectations as a freshman?
Dressel: The season is going really well for me. Training has been the best yet in terms of staying injury-free. I'm just feeling good in workouts at this point in the season. I kind of over-exceeded my expectations coming in. Coming in to CU I wanted to be top seven, be on the traveling team, and potentially score some points for us. Just to make the most impact I could was the main goal of the season.
Q: How do you hope to build on your performance at the Pac-12 finals?
Dressel: I had a pretty good race at Pac-12s. And so the key thing is just to keep that form where it's at right now. You kind of race conservative at regionals leading up to nationals, then you give it a go at nationals. We already ran that course once and so we kind of know what to expect in terms of how a course is laid out. If we run like we can I think we'll get the result we want.
Q: You're from Cobert, Washington. How did your choice to come to CU evolve?
Dressel: The three schools I visited were CU, Stanford, and Oregon. When I came here I was really interested in the program and I loved Boulder, the location. (Mark) Wetmore is a great coach. I loved my visit here. When I visited Stanford I didn't feel as comfortable. At Oregon ... Oregon is a good school, but I didn't think it was the right fit for me. CU is a nice school and it's kind of in between Stanford and Oregon, I would say. The coaching is phenomenal here. They care about the individual and the development of the individual. I think that's what really attracted me here. I just went with where I was most comfortable. CU was that school.
Q: How did you first get into distance running?
Dressel: I was first a soccer player. I played soccer from kindergarten through eighth grade. I started doing track in seventh grade, and then cross country and track in eighth grade. I was running times that were pretty good. I was doing well and I kind of looked toward my future and what I would be most successful at, and I think with running it opened up more opportunities. It allowed me to go to a great school here. I think with soccer I wouldn't have had as much exposure. I probably would've stayed in-state if I played soccer, or went to a smaller school.
Q: Are you a sports fan in general?
Dressel: I don't follow the NFL too big. I'm more of a Premier League fan. My team is Manchester United. They have been for years and years. I pay attention to that quite a bit.
Q: Do you have any pre-race quirks or routines.
Dressel: I keep my meals the same. Eating what I'm used to eating. Dinosaur oatmeal. That was my food of choice my sophomore year. I had that going into Foot Locker regionals, and my goal was to qualify for nationals, and I qualified that year. I figured that was the food for me so I kept with it.