Freshman Leo Orsini joined the Cross Country team this fall after competing as a multi-sport athlete in high school. He proved himself to be a top competitor early in the season, finishing first for the the ‘Jackets at the Cardinal Early Season Cross Country Invitational at St. John Fisher College. On Saturday, URMXC placed 14th out of 29 teams at the Yellowjacket Invitational. They will compete at the Harry Anderson Invitational at Roberts Wesleyan on Sept. 24.
How is the season going?
I think that our season is off to a great start. Our success in workouts for these first few weeks is definitely a positive indication of what we are capable of this season. Moreover, our team’s chemistry, which has developed profoundly even among newcomers, promises to be a powerful motivating force in pushing all of us to be our best. As for my season, I’m very pleased with my results from our time trial and the 6k Saint John Fisher Invitational. Although I didn’t feel like my results from the Yellowjacket Invitational were outstanding, I’m looking forward to making some big improvements for the rest of the season.
What motivates you to keep going mid-race?
Most of the time, the idea that I am part of a fantastic team is a big motivating factor at any point in the race. The knowledge that my teammates are out there working as hard, if not harder, than I am is an empowering feeling during a race. This is another reason why I feel that our team chemistry is going to provide a big boost to our performance this season. Another way that I find the energy to keep pushing during a race is a phrase that my high school coach said occasionally: “The faster you run, the sooner you’re done.” Although it’s a fairly obvious statement, the prospect of being done with a race is a great motivator for me, especially in the final mile or two of the race. Bonus motivation if I know about free food after the finish line.
What other sports have you participated in?
For my first two years of high school, I participated in soccer (position: left bench), Nordic skiing, and tennis. Successes in Nordic skiing prompted me to join cross country and track as cross-training for Nordic season for my last two years of high school.
What do you love about running?
It’s a complicated relationship. The social component of it is definitely a major reason why I do it. The camaraderie that stems from the team’s shared suffering during workouts and races creates some of the closest bonds between teammates. Although it is difficult, I think the challenge of it also plays a part in what I enjoy about running so much.
When did you decide to compete in college?
The spring of my senior year of high school. Before this point, I only really had a shot at a collegiate athletics career in Nordic skiing. However, since my heart was set on [UR], I didn’t really have the option to continue skiing. Luckily, I made some huge improvements the 800m during outdoor track. It was at this point that I decided to compete in college.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Push yourself.” It’s about as cliche as you can get, and it has been said in so many ways (including one of the key mottos on our team, “always finish,” which applies to workouts and food alike), but I feel that its applications are universal. If I’m not challenged by something that I do, I often find that it isn’t worth doing, whether it’s in school, sports, or any other activity.
What is your role on the team?
I think that I fit the “clueless freshman” stereotype on the team quite well, even if my teammates are too nice to confirm my suspicions.
Do you feel that you can be a leader despite being a freshman?
Absolutely. Even as a freshman, I was never made to feel inferior to even our most experienced teammates. I think that I speak for all of my fellow freshmen in describing and praising this unique team atmosphere. Although we do have captains, the expectation is always there for any team member to step up and lead in whatever situation might arise.
How do you feel you’ve grown as an athlete over the last few years?
In just the past four years I think I’ve grown tremendously as an athlete. My transition to doing cross country and track during my junior year of high school was a big change, but one that I’m ultimately glad that I made. This summer also was a big change for me, as I transitioned to more running- oriented training as opposed to the training for Nordic skiing I had done for the last two summers. Being on the cross- country team here also is a big opportunity to further grow as an athlete. It’s an opportunity I’m honored to have, especially with being on such a great team.
Would you rather run a marathon handcuffed to Martha Stewart, or bear-crawl a 5k?
Hands-down a marathon with Martha Stewart. I’m sure she’d have some great ideas for decorating a dorm room, not to mention some great recipes. Although running while handcuffed to another person for 26.2 miles would be extremely painful, I couldn’t imagine doing a 5k bear crawl.