Q&A with Men's Cross Country Junior Colby Wissel

Aug. 18, 2006


Recently, All-Big 12 cross country junior Colby Wissel sat down with the media relations staff to talk about the upcoming season. The season looks to be especially promising, as KU hosts the 2006 Big 12 cross country championships on Oct. 27 at Rim Rock Farm.

Wissel earned All-Big 12 status after finishing 10th at the 2005 Big 12 Championships. He also won the first two events of the 2005 season, the Bob Timmons Invitational (Sept. 3) and the KSU/KU Dual (Sept. 9).

1. How would you describe Rim Rock Farm?
“Rim Rock Farm is unique in the fact that it is an actual cross country course and is not used for anything else. It is also very challenging. It is hilly with all the features of a challenging cross country course. A lot of teams do not like the course because it is so challenging. We use that to our advantage because we know what is coming and what to expect on a course like Rim Rock.”

2. What is your favorite landmark at Rim Rock Farm?
“My favorite landmark at Rim Rock is Billy Mills because it marks the finish. Everyone on the team is very grateful for Rim Rock Farm. Bob Timmons and Steve Heffernan do a great job keeping it maintained. We really appreciate it and are very excited to have the Big 12 cross country championships there, just to show it off and have the home course advantage.”

3. What are your team goals for the 2006 season?
“We expect to have a very good team. We return our top five runners so our expectations are very high. One of our biggest goals for the season is to place in the top-10 nationally.”

4. So far in practice, what themes have Coach Redwine and Coach Clark stressed to the team?
“Coach Redwine and Coach Clark have expressed to us that they want us to stay patient and not get carried away. We’ve tasted success and we know what we’re capable of doing. We just want to have controlled aggression and not get too fired up and over-train.”

5. Who is the biggest prankster on the team this season and what are some of his favorite tricks?
“We have a few characters on our team that like to have fun and joke around. Because we’re always running together, if we’re not laughing or joking, the runs go by pretty slowly. The funniest guy on the team has to be (senior) Tyler Kelly. He can crack up about anyone.”

6. Can you talk about some of your most challenging workouts? Give the public an idea about your training regiment in preparing for a new season.
“The top guys on our team run at least 70 miles a week, sometimes even into the 80s and 90s. It takes a lot out of you. We’ll also do 2,000-meter repeats, usually about four or so with three minutes rest between them. We don’t stand around. If you’re having a bad day, people are going to exploit that, and you’re going to feel even more pressure to get out there and participate because there is so much talent on the team.”

7. What is your favorite post-race meal?
“After nationals, we usually go out and get a big steak dinner. I like drinking coke and eating fast food, so I try and put that off during the season. As soon as the season is over, I like to enjoy those.”

8. When did you first discover you were skilled at distance running?
“In elementary school, we had track and field day, which my dad organized because he was the P.E. teacher. He always kept records of all the events and I found out that the easiest records to break were the longer distances. What little kid doesn’t like breaking records. From early on, I could tell distance was my thing. By my sophomore year in high school, I was a full-time distance runner.”

9. If you could trade places with another KU student-athlete for one day, who would it be and why?
“I think baseball would be a great sport to play in college, but if I had to choose one athlete, I would trade places with Kerry Meier. I love watching and playing football and have always enjoyed playing quarterback. It is probably the hardest position to play in sports.”

10. Why should students come out to Rim Rock Farm on Oct. 27 for the Big 12 cross country championships?
“We represent KU. We’re not a big-time program, but we represent Kansas proudly. Heading out to Rim Rock Farm for a day is not a big imposition and they might be surprised as to what they see out there. I also think everyone should go to a golf tournament or a volleyball match. It is part of the college experience.”