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Andrew Jesien Interview
By: David Warren
2006-09-20


Thanks Andrew for taking the time to do this interview.

The first question I have to ask you is why you chose the University of Virginia, and what other schools were you considering?

During my college search, I also looked at Maryland, Duke, Cornell and Brown. But when I visited UVA, I really found what I was looking for, which is a solid academic school with a bunch of guys that want to do some badass training and have a lot of fun. Charlottesville is an unbelievable place to run and study. Plus our new athletic dining hall serves the best food on the east coast.

You had a pretty awesome high school running career and I know a lot of people enjoyed watching you run. Just looking back what memories or moments stick out?

Iíll never forget ripping around that last turn on the WJ track during certain workouts. My coaches really knew what they were doing and I canít thank them enough for my high school experience. As far as racing goes, I loved being a part of a competitive 4x800. Being on the line, watching your teammate come in, and getting the stick with some guys to chase: that gets me pumped up. We had some great races at Penn Relays and States. Two wins that stick out for me alone were the Georgetown Prep Invitational and the Penn Relays Mile. Those were good days for me.

Was it your choice or a coachís decision to have you redshirt you freshman year of XC?

It was my coachís decision to redshirt and definitely a good one. It was a pretty rough transition for me with the mileage and workouts so I got really tired after a month or so and probably would not have been able to help the team much that season anyways. I was still able to get some racing experience and also got a solid base for track so it was a good call by coach.

How was your summer training?

This summer went really well. I worked my way up to 85 miles a week (of pretty easy running) by August and didnít have any problems. I had to train for two weeks in Hawaii on a family trip, which ended up being some of the most memorable runs of my life. When I was home, I had a group of guys (Chris Moen, Michael Menase....not really, Jeff Perlis, Alex Booth, Richie Booth, Jared Schnieder, Matt Abernathy, Peter Novick, Zach Martinez, Danny George) to train with about 5 days out of the week. Almost every day we would jump the fence at the private golf course near my house, take our shoes off, and run 6-8 miles barefoot. I have no idea if this was a good idea or not, but it feels amazing. I still do this on the course here in C-ville.

UVA is returning 4 of the top 5 scorers from last yearís team that qualified for last yearís NCAAís. Where do you see yourself as a contributor on this squad? Have your teamís practices been going well enough that you can potentially be a scorer?

We return 4 of our 5. Plus our # 1 guy, Ryan Foster, just got a stress fracture so he is out, huge bummer. I guess it is a big risk running 125-mile weeks. We did a time trial this week and it looks like I will be our 4th man. With our depth, anything can happen during the season but that is about where I am sitting now. But itís awesome to get back that team mentality that I was a part of in high school XC.

Last year you beat powerhouse FSU (the eventual NCAA outdoor champions) to win the ACC championship in XC. What kind of goals has the team set? How about on a national level?

We definitely want to win ACCís again, which is going to be a lot harder without Foster. But we have the guys to do it. It is at home so if anyone has some time, they should definitely drive down here to watch it because itís going to be an insane race. On the national level, we have changed our goals from getting top ten to top 20 after losing Foster. Everyone is really going to have to step it up though.

By the end of outdoor track last year you were one of the top 15 freshman 1500 runners in the nation. You ran a 3:49.53 at the Stanford Invite and you lowered that later in the season with a 3:49.20. What kind of short term and long term goals do you have for the 1500.

I was disappointed with my outdoor season because I kept hitting 3.49 and didnít seem to get any better. This year I would like hit around 3.45 and in the future maybe around 3.40. I might end up moving up in distance though.

So youíre lined up with your UVA uniform on, surrounded by rivals from Texas, Arkansas, Michigan, Georgetown and Villanova last year at Penn for the 4xMile. What was that experience like running against some of the powerhouse programs in the country and holding your own? What did your teammates say after that leg?

Penn Relays is my favorite track meet in the world. And on that day it really wasnít that intimidating to be lined up next to those guys. I honestly think we have the guys to win this event this year and we will soon be one of those big name teams, it just takes a few guys who really want it.

Do you have aspirations of being a professional?

I havenít thought about running professionally at all. If I get good enough I would definitely consider it. But for now, I just want to enjoy the college scene and the awesome team atmosphere I am a part of.

Do you follow collegiate, national and world wide athletes? Rogers would describe those people as Track Geeks.

I donít usually look up results too often but I hear about most of the big stuff that goes on through my teammates. When Iím bored, sometimes I spend time looking for interviews and training logs of really good runners and it really gives me a lot of new training perspectives and ideas. Oh and Iím always on mocorunning. Itís the best site ever.

Whatís the future of UVA running look like? What kind of incoming class does UVA have that will help the cream rise to the top?

We have made monumental jumps in the last 4 years. When Jason Dunn first took the position as distance coach 6 years ago, we were pretty bad. We had no milers under 4.12, now we have about 11, our fastest has run a split of 4.01 Back then, we had two guys under 15.00 in the 5k, Last season we had 4 guys under 14.10. And we are now fully funded by the athletic department so we can offer 12.5 scholarships. Our new class has a lot of talent. We got Steve Finley, a footlocker guy and a 9.02 duece runner who also threw down a 4.11 and 1.52 open. We got Alex Bowman from Virginia who ran 4.12 full mile, and 1.51 last year. We also have Graham Tribble who ran 8.40 3k and Trey miller who ran under 9.20 and 14.48 for 5k. Also Chris Clark is a local 4.20 guy on the team. We also got a transfer from American named Kevin Tshirhart. He was a great runner in high school: made Footlocker his sophomore year, and ran under 9 min. He wonít race until spring though.

Can you briefly describe your coachís methodology?

Coach Dunnís approach is really well thought out. Our program most closely follows the Jack Danielís running formula. We do about 2 workouts a week along with a long run. During XC season, our workouts will consist of something aerobic such as a tempo run or fartlek. During track, the workouts we do are usually very under control, and a few times I have been forced to stop before I wanted to. But we definitely start to roll towards the end of the season.

Overall, we are starting to become more of a higher-mileage program, but there are definitely exceptions because coach keeps it individualized. Our top miler does 45 miles per week and does his best off that. Most of us are around 80 mpw and up. I have been increasing my mileage a good amount mainly because I think it will make me much stronger, and basically because I just really like to run.

Besides downing burritos and running 2 flats, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love playing sports so Iím always down for playing tennis or Frisbee or whatever. I also like going on adventures and meeting people or just hanging out with my homies.

Whatís your major?

Iím still working on that. Probably something to do with math or science though.

Tell the fans something that would make them say, ďdamn I had no idea.Ē

I am a man of many talents. These are some of my other PRís:
Wendyís Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers: 6
Solitaire: 75 seconds
Murders: 9
100 meters: faster than Chris Moen
Yoshiís Circuit: 1:48.36
Lost and Found Apparel: 22 t-shirts, 5 socks
Q-tip: all the way in





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