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The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

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Athlete of the Week: Tim O’Leary

An exclusive interview with Tim O’Leary, whose performance on the men’s cross country team earned him a spot for Athlete of the Week.
Photo provided by COD Athletics

Name: Tim O’Leary

Sport: Men’s Cross Country

Year: Freshman

High School: York Community High School

Hometown: Elmhurst


Lily Goodfellow: When did you start running?

Tim O’Leary: My parents signed me up for a running club when I was around eight or nine years old. I think I was slightly above average for the population, but in terms of people doing running clubs, I was not very good. So, I started from the bottom, and now we’re here. 


LG: What motivates you to keep running in a long race?

TO: Is it okay to say fantasies of victory? I imagine music in my head sometimes, and that can help me get through it. If I’m really competitive with another runner, I might think “I just need to beat this kid” and I try to make that happen. Or at least improve my time again and again. I always keep in mind that quitting feels far worse than running and not doing very well. That’s what always keeps me going. 


LG: What does your training schedule look like?

TO: So, at College of DuPage, on Mondays, we usually do a run that’s not super long. On Tuesdays, we generally do a workout. So, we did 500s this week, and last week we did mile repeats. Wednesdays are a bit shorter and Thursday is a longer run. Friday is a tune-up day. If we have a meet on Friday, we do the long run on Wednesday and a tune-up on Thursday. On Sundays, we run on our own for a long time, like 90 minutes or more. 


LG: Do you have any rituals before a meet?

TO: We have a traditional warmup, but the closest thing I have to a ritual is to try to never take things too seriously. In high school, I had this goal of wanting to be a D1 runner, and I was so far off. I was a whole minute off of even being in the conversation. And so towards the end when I could have gotten a bit closer, I just kept having the worst races possible because it would completely screw with me. So my goal is to kind of keep the pressure off of me. Because pressure is like salt. Salt can make your food taste really good with the right amount, but it doesn’t take a lot to tip it into the other direction. 


LG: How do you think the team will do this season?

TO: We have some pretty good guys. Addisu [Wolski] and Kevin [Diederich] are just as, if not more, talented than me. Full stop. And some of the guys on the team like Patrick [Hohe] and the Connors [Sisco and Vine], and John [Buchanan], they may not have been the stars in high school but they’re getting there and they are going to be pretty respectable. They just need to keep putting in the work and who knows, maybe next year they’ll be in the same position that me, Addisu and Kevin are in. 


LG: What is your greatest accomplishment as an athlete?

TO: My greatest accomplishment was probably when I was an NJCAA All-American last track season. Some other decent accomplishments were in wrestling in high school. I was a WSC All-Conference. And it’s not sports, but I’m pretty proud of my Life Scout achievement in Boy Scouts. 


LG: Who are some of your role models in cross country?

TO: I’ve never been the fastest guy on the team. And at York [High School] they have a strong cross country program. So you can imagine that I was looking ahead at quite a few names. People like Charlie Kern, I respect him. And of course my [former] coach, Coach Kern. I respect a lot of kids, but you don’t want to idolize people too much because they’re supposed to be your rivals in the end. You want to stick with your teammates. My teammates are who inspire me. Sometimes the people who inspire me the most aren’t necessarily the fittest and don’t necessarily have the greatest reason to come to practice every day. They’re probably never going to get their name on the trophy, but they keep showing up to better themselves and to support the team. That’s what I appreciate most. The Kerns of the world, they’re always going to get their names on the trophy and get the big promotions. But some of these guys don’t have to be here, and that’s something I really admire.


LG: What’s your favorite class right now?

TO: I am really surprised about this, but I think it might be Genetics. I have a teacher who is a former geneticist, and he’s telling us pretty interesting things about how the cells work and all that. These last two weeks we’ve been learning about reproductive cells and chromosomes, and now we’re learning about how the cells work. I find it pretty interesting, which is a surprise to me. 


LG: What are you studying?

TO: I’m studying Business Analytics. Hence, the surprise!


LG: Where do you see yourself in five years?

TO: I am talking with some universities, but I don’t know where that is going to take me. Like will I do another major? I guess I can say that I may be working at some big corporation helping them analyze business decisions to better their future. Hopefully, that will be where I’m at.


LG: What one word best describes you?

TO: Persistent. 


LG: Thank you very much, Tim!

TO: Thanks. I appreciate you doing this for me!

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