Q&A with Men's Cross Country Junior Patrick McGowan

Sept. 7, 2006


Recently, cross country junior Patrick McGowan sat down with the media relations staff to talk about the cross country season. Fresh of its victory at the Bob Timmons Invitational, the men’s team looks to continue its winning ways Friday at the Kansas State Wildcat Invitational.

McGowan nearly registered a new personal-best at the Bob Timmons Invitational, running the 8k race on the challenging Rim Rock Farm course in a time of 26:39.26. Now in his junior year, McGowan hopes to become a permanent fixture among the team’s top-seven runners and contribute to the team’s growing success.

1. How would you describe Rim Rock Farm? Is it the most challenging course you’ve competed on?

“As far as courses that we run on throughout the year, it is definitely the most challenging. I think that plays out especially well for our team this year since we are hosting the Big 12 Championships.”

2. What are your personal and team goals for the 2006 season?
“In cross country it’s hard to set time goals because you run different courses, which can be harder and the weather conditions also play a factor. I want to be on that top seven squad that goes to nationals. I want to keep improving each race. We had a big year last year finishing 12th at nationals. We want to be back at nationals this year and we want to do even better.”

3. What are your thoughts on the Bob Timmons Invitational and coming close to breaking your personal best?
“It was awesome. Coming into this year, I didn’t want to set goals because I didn’t want to hold myself back. I was 10 seconds off of my personal best, but times don’t always show how well you ran. To start the year running that way was a great way to start the year.”

4. So far in practice, what themes have Coach Redwine and Coach Clark stressed to the team?
“Right now, since it’s early in the season, they just want us to train hard and stay injury free. We have our goals set and we know where we want to be a couple months from now. We just don’t want anything to hinder our possibilities later in the season.”

5. How do your teammates motivate you in practice and in competition?
“In practice, it’s great to have the senior guys out there on the team with us. It’s great to have someone other than a coach to tell you what to do. Also, everyday you have 12 of your best friends to run with and it’s a lot easier to train with 12 guys than by yourself. In a race it’s great to be able to key off teammates when you are hurting and everyone around you is hurting, but you always have your teammates there to push through it together.”

6. How does it feel to be an upperclassman and a leader on the squad?
“It’s hard to believe that I’m a junior now and halfway done. Freshman year was a big transition year and during my sophomore year, I made the conference team and I thought I ran well but had to improve. Now it’s almost now or never. It’s kind of surreal.”

7. What were the best and worst movies you saw this summer?
“One of the movies I saw was Talledega Nights and I’ll say it was the best and the worst. I thought it was hilarious, funny and stupid funny. Will Farrel is a great actor, but at the same time I thought they could have done so much better. I’m from the South in NASCAR country, and the movie wasn’t a good representation of the South. I thought parts were really good, but I also thought parts were really bad.”

8. Describe the feelings and emotions you get before a race?
“The weeks leading up to the first race, I get pretty excited because I’ve trained all summer for 20 minutes of racing. Right before the race, I try to stay calm and think about the race and where I want to be and where I want to run. There are strategies involved. You just want to think about being in game-time mode.”

9. What is your favorite landmark at Rim Rock?
“The silhouette of Billy Mills. He is one of those great KU runners so it’s really cool to see the tradition there. It also signifies the finish, so you know when you see Billy, it’s time to go.”

10. If you could trade places with another KU student-athlete for one day who would it be?
“Any pitcher on the baseball team. I grew up playing baseball and I was never a pitcher, but would like to be a pitcher one day for the Hawks. To get out there on the mound and know the team is on your back and relying on you.”