Getting to Know Andrew Colley
Oct. 8, 2013
Each week GoPack.com will catch up with a different member of the cross country team to find out a little more about them. Today, we sit down with Andrew Colley, a redshirt senior from Jamestown Prep in Williamsburg, Va.
Over the course of his Wolfpack cross country career Colley has earned numerous awards and honors as one of the best runners in State history. He is a two-time All-American, a three-time All-ACC nominee and a three-time All-NCAA Southeast Region performer. Additionally, he is both a two-time ACC and USTFCCCA Academic All-American and was selected as 2012 ACC Performer of the Year, becoming the first runner to be selected by the conference's head coaches in a majority vote.
What did it mean to you to be named 2012 ACC Performer of the Year?
It was really cool. It was my first race back at the ACC Championships and I got beat, so I thought it definitely wasn't going to happen. But the two guys who beat me at the ACC's, I beat at Regional's and Nationals so I guess the coaches took that into account. It was important to do well for the school, but it was also important to have our school do well in the ACC's. So I thought it was great that NC State got recognition from the award. Cross Country is an individual sport, but at the end of the day you are also part of a team.
How does the team work together collectively and individually?
We have a plan going into every meet that Coach Geiger comes up with. He'll let me go out and do what I do in the race because I'm a little away from the other guys, but with the other guys they'll group up in several different packs. There will be two-to-three or three-to-four guys in each of these packs and they are supposed to work together during the race and not let anyone drop off the group and then they just move as a pack, pardon the pun, and that's really how it works. And then we like to get each other pumped up and if you see a guy struggling in a race, you smack him on the back of the leg and tell him, "Let's go. You can't be doing this," to get him going.
You compete in both cross country and track and field. How did you get your start in cross country?
When I was younger, I did track and field first. When I was in third grade I did the long jump and then maybe the 100m. It's kind of funny, I did that for a few years then ran the 400m and just kept moving up to longer distances. So I started out in track first and then once I got to high school, that's when I got initiated into cross country.
How do you train for cross country as compared to track and field?
It sort of all falls under one umbrella, but for cross country there is a lot more of a toughness aspect. You don't need the speed as much. You need the speed to finish the race, but being tough during a race and being able to surge on guys and being able to recover when guys surge on you. The training that we do in cross country will translate over to track, but track is little bit sharper. You hit things more acutely but at the same time they are both running. If you are good at cross country, you should be good at track. They both compliment each other.
How much running do you do in terms of your training?
On the guys team there are guys running anywhere between 70 and 100 miles a week. There are some guys who run 110 miles and more, but those are mostly the older guys. That's where most of us are in that range. A lot of the younger guys will start out at 70, and then increase, as they are able to handle more. It's specified per person because there are guys like me who can get hurt a lot, so I can't run 100-110 miles per week and survive very long.
What's been your most memorable cross country race so far at NC State?
My sophomore year at the ACC Championships. It was my first race because I was injured the entire season. I hadn't gotten that much training in, but we had a really good group of guys. Me and (former NC State All-American) Ryan Hill were up in the front pack the entire race. Near the end of the race I remember turning the corner, the crowd couldn't see us until we turned the corner, and Ryan came out first and then I came out and the entire NC State crowd went nuts. I remember crossing the line, Ryan turned back and pointed at me and I pointed at him and we were really excited and the team ended up winning that day. So being able to go first and second with him and having our team win, it was awesome. It still gets me pumped up thinking about it.
You have a very unique look. Have you always had the long hair?
I had the typical bowl cut in elementary school when I was growing up. But it got progressively longer and now it's something people associate with me. So now it's a part of me and I can't lose it (laughs). And also at races my grandparents come see me and they like me having the long hair because they can always spot me (laughs).
What kind of music do you listen to before a race?
Before I race it depends on the mood I'm in, but I listen to something that will pump me up. I remember when I was a freshman and sophomore I used to listen to "Heart of A Champion" and "#1" by Nelly. Just kind of those good-feeling pump-up songs. If I get really nervous before a race I'll listen to something like Bob Marley to tone everything out. It just depends on the race, but lately I've been listening to some pump-up music to get the team going.
As a cross country runner, what is your diet like?
We don't have a specified diet, but we all are expected to eat pretty healthy and maintain our race weight that we perform best at. We all eat in the dining hall at the Case Athletic Center and they have really good meals. You can't really go wrong with what you get there. Of course, everything in moderation. You can get a milkshake from Cook-Out once in a while, but not every night (laughs). You'll notice when you do that, the next day at practice you feel like crap. That will make you think twice about it.
What brought you to NC State?
As I went on my recruiting visits in high school, they just kept getting better and better. Then I after I visited NC State, they got worse. When I came here, what I noticed and what sold me the most was the team aspect of a family. It felt like I could have my teammates become my brothers. I didn't experience that anywhere else. The people here, more than anything, were the deciding factor. Coach Geiger believing in me. He told me during the recruiting process that I was a great runner, that he could do great things with me, and that we have a team that could help me do that. He sold me on the fact that he not only wanted to develop us as runners, but as people as well, which was really cool to me.