Interview with Andrew Cook - November 2002

by Aggie Atheletics dot com

Talk about the adjustment you have to make from running cross country in high school to running in college.

"The main difference is probably that everyone is good. If you have a bad race in a college race you are going to finish in the back of the pack, where in a high school meet you can still finish up front."

What improvements in running have you made personally over your three years at A&M?

"The main thing I have tried to do since leaving high school is to increase my mileage, just try to work harder and harder every year, try to keep making those steps to getting better."

A lot of people didn't believe this team could make it to the NCAAs this year. What do you attribute the team's success too?

"I think it is really our ability to run well late in the season. A lot of teams run good in the middle of the season and they kind of fade, but our team has really come on the last part of the season. We have just gotten better at every race. I guess that has to do with coaching and peaking. That is mainly Coach Hartman."

There has been a lot of talk dealing with your hard work and the improvement in your running this year, what do you attribute your motivation to?

"I guess I had always been a middle of the pack runner. I didn't want to be a middle of the pack runner; I wanted to be up at the front. I just really wanted to help my teammates out. So, I guess it was individual motivation as well. I didn't want to be Mr. Joe Schmo. I wanted to get better."

Are you surprised at your individual and the team's success this year?

"I figured if I worked hard this summer I could have a chance at doing better individually. About our team? No, I am not surprised at all. We have a bunch of hard working guys on the team, and a lot of talented guys on the team. I knew we would be able to do pretty good this year."

Is it added pressure or added excitement going up to run at NC's?

"I think it is more added excitement because really our team isn't really one of the favorites going there. It is more excitement for us to be going there, but we also want to do well too."

The team has never finished higher than 20th at NC's. Can this team eclipse that mark?

"I think we can, but we are going to have to have a good day to do it. We can't go out there and run an average race and finish top 20. If everyone on the team goes out and runs a good race, it is a possibility."

Talk about the weather conditions you guys could face. NC's are late in the season, and they are up at Indiana State.

"Hopefully the weather won't play too big of a factor. We are all from Texas, the coldest we have seen is 40 degrees. I think right now it's snowing up there, so I really don't think it will play that much of a factor. Just as long as it isn't below zero or anything else we will be fine."

So being a bunch of Texas guys, you don't think the weather will hamper ya'll that much?

"Nah, I don't think it will hamper us that much really, in running anyways."

When you don't have to run, do you run for fun?

"Yeah I like to run for fun. I just like feeling physically fit. I also just enjoy it I guess. Getting that runners high is just fun for me. I have been running since I was seven years old, so it is something I always do, like waking up and eating breakfast or something."

What do you like to do to pass the time when the team is on the road?

"I particularly just like watching TV. Every night before a race I always watch a show called "Curb Your Enthusiasm." I don't know if you have ever seen it before, but it is pretty funny. We just try to relax and take it easy in the hotels and stuff. Sometimes we go to special places or cool places. When we went to Minnesota we went to the Mall of America and when we were at Seattle we went to the fish market there."

Talk about this special show, "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

"The guy who created it is Larry David (Seinfeld creator). It is a story about his life and all the goofy things he goes through. Whoever I am rooming with, I always make them watch it, whether they like it or not."

Jason Sosa, a former cross country runner, says Steve Prefontaine is his running role model. Is that standard for cross country runners?

"Not for me, I think he is kind of overrated. I am just kind of tired of seeing movies on him. I really don't know who my running idol is (laughing). I know he isn't my running idol."

Would you tell Sosa to get another idol?

"Yeah, I would tell Sosa to get another idol. I think he is over-hyped."

You have a girlfriend on the women's team. Do you guys compare times and compete?

"I know a lot of the freshman guys compare times with her; she can beat some of the freshman guys. Right now I have the edge over her. She is also an All-American. I consider myself one of the top runners, but I am not an All-American like she is, like who knows how many times All-American she is."

Do ya'll talk about cross country on dates?

"Not really. She doesn't like to talk about it too much. I like to talk about cross country. I guess she has more of a life than I do. I really like talking about running (laughs)."