The 2021 Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championships take place Sat. Oct. 30 in Cedarville, Ohio, starting at 10 a.m.
On a rainy afternoon last week, I had the privilege of interviewing some of my wonderful teammates on the St. Bonaventure cross country team. I wanted to give some of my teammates, friends, an opportunity to introduce themselves to the campus community. Both the men’s and women’s teams have been extremely successful this year, setting top ten program times in nearly every race. You can obviously attribute our success on the course to hard work, but we also have a positive team atmosphere that factors in. One of the best things about my team is that we are very serious about our sport, but also know when to have fun. That leads to our fantastic team chemistry. The questions that follow are not the typical interview questions that my teammates were expecting when I asked them if I could interview them. The questions start normal and then become increasingly chaotic. My goal here was to allow you to get a deeper and more in-depth understanding of who these people are beyond just stats and times.
Though the rain had stopped by the time we started the interview in the comfortable environment of Café La Verna, the storm of ridiculous questions was yet to begin.
The lucky interviewees for the women: Amber Robertson, senior; Lindsey Lytle, senior; Emilie Weinbeck, sophomore; Lauren McGee, sophomore; and Olivia Ippolito, freshman.
For the men: John Pullano, senior; Hayden Barry, junior; Zach Buckner, freshman; Thomas Dachik, freshman; and Ryan Lewis, freshman.
Question 1: What is your favorite running event?
Though we are technically in cross country mode right now, many of us prefer track events. Hayden and Ryan are both fans of running a mile on the outdoor track, while Lindsey, Lauren and Olivia would rather stick to a 5K on grass.
Question 2: Would you rather run a 5K on the track or on a cross-country course?
Everyone agreed that cross-country 5Ks are better than track 5Ks. Well, almost everyone. Zach advocated for the superiority of the track 5K but convinced absolutely no one that 12-and-a-half laps is better than a nice, open field.
Question 3: Ideal running conditions?
Fall weather (50s-60s with a slight breeze) was the most popular answer here. This raised an interesting sub-question: how do you feel about running in the rain? Rainy running gathered mixed reviews. Except from Emilie, who was very passionate about her dislike for it.
Question 4: Running role model, sports role model or favorite athlete in general?
Amber answered Josh Allen because of her Bills loyalty. Plus, as track runners, who would be a better example of proper hurdling form?
John answered that his running role model is teammate, Hayden. How wholesome! Was this because Hayden was sitting right next to him? Perhaps, but I’d like to suspend my disbelief.
Question 5: If you could have a walk-up song for cross country, what would yours be?
Lauren and Amber wanted anything made by Taylor Swift. I wholeheartedly agree with this.
Zach quickly answered with “Kickstart my Heart” by Motley Crue, which caused Thomas to freak out (because that’s exactly what he was going to say).
Question 6: If you could do another sport besides cross country what would it be?
Lindsey and John both answered basketball. Maybe they can help the Bonnies this upcoming season?
Question 7: You are on a deserted island: What are three things you would bring?
Hayden: “A box of tools, a lighter and a volleyball.” Name that movie.
Question 8: You are on a deserted island: You can only bring 3 artists’ music. Who are they?
Post Malone and Taylor Swift appeared in four different answers.
Question 9: You are on a deserted island: You can only bring one person. Who is it?
Thomas would take this journey alone, while Olivia and Lauren would bring survivalist Bear Grylls. Is that cheating? Maybe.
John’s answer was, again, close to home, choosing teammate, Darion Gregory, who is an avid fisher.
Question 10: If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Lindsey would buy a reliable car; either a Subaru Cross Trek or a Tesla—if she felt like splurging. Ryan would buy a nice 70s house, complete with funky rugs and groovy wallpaper. Thomas presented a well calculated answer and would donate 35% of the money (once again, so wholesome) and invest the remaining 65%.
Question 11: If you could switch lives with one person for a day, who would it be?
Olivia would swap with the Queen of England, while Hayden would swap with Jeff Bezos and, quote, “write a check to Hayden Barry for one billion dollars.”
Question 12: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Lauren and Ryan both would like to freeze time.
Question 13: If you had a time machine, would you travel to the past or future?
All but John and Zach chose the past.
Question 14: What is one ridiculous thing you believed as a kid?
Emilie: “That green Gatorade made you better at everything.” This caused confusion. Is there a green Gatorade? Green-apple flavor? This was news to some. It was news to me.
Question 15: Who is your go-to Mario kart character?
Emilie, Amber and Olivia ride or die with Princess Peach. Ryan rolls with Bowser.
Question 16: If you could be any animal what animal would you be?
Lindsey and Thomas would both like to be flying squirrels. This answer surprised me when Lindsey said it. It shocked me when Thomas said the same.
Question 17: What is something you can talk about for 10 uninterrupted minutes and still have more to say?
Amber and Lauren could both go on an extended rant about The Bachelor. With almost 300 episodes and failed proposal after failed proposal, I guess they never run out of things to talk about.
Question 18: If you could get rid of one state, which would it be and why?
Zach was quick to say Arkansas because he got stranded there on a road trip once when his car broke down. Apparently, Arkansas is nothing but an empty highway. It should go without saying, Zach will not be the spokesman for Arkansas anytime soon.
Hayden wanted to say New Jersey (I, the question asker, am a proud New Jerseyan), because it is “just a wannabe New York”, but he came to his senses—as he should—and selected Nebraska (I apologize to any Nebraskan readers out there; nothing personal). Emilie and Lindsey would both say goodbye to Florida.
Question 19: What pasta shape do you identify most with?
Olivia: “The thick round ones.” This resulted in confusion until a quick Google search revealed she was referring to macaroni noodles (specifically the ones in the Red Robin mac and cheese).
Question 20: If you had to eat the same thing every day what would it be?
Lauren went with a chicken-finger sub. I wanted to correct her terminology, because she obviously meant to call it a chicken-finger hoagie.
But I resisted the urge.
Question 21: You can only use 2 utensils for the rest of your life, what are they?
After a tight battle, spoon and fork win over knife and fork, 5-4.
Question 22: Lastly: Would you rather fight one horse-sized frog or 100 frog sized horses?
Thomas and Zach were the brave souls who decided to fight the large frog. Very courageous. But probably a little misguided.
I hope this interview was as exciting and fun to read as it was to moderate and witness. If nothing else, I hope you leave with some new (and definitely goofy) insight into some very talented and dedicated runners. And keep an eye out for some of the interviewees’ performances at the 2021 A-10 Cross Country Championships Sat. Oct. 30—spooky! Go Bona’s!
(Iris Archer is a feature contributor to The Intrepid and a junior cross-country runner and track runner at St. Bonaventure University. She also enjoys asking ridiculous questions.)