On the brink of the University Athletic Association and National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships, the UR men’s cross country team is on a roll. Getting an impressive 25:02 at the Yellowjacket Invitational and a 25:40 at the Geneseo 8K, junior Brian Lang is a big part of the ‘Jackets’ arsenal. Lang most recently got third place at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Cross Country Championships and looks to bring UR to the next level at the UAA championships in Cleveland, Ohio this Saturday.

How did you get started in cross country?
I started junior year of high school. I wrestled for nine years first. Then I had a good year of cross country because one of my wrestling buddies was like, ‘Hey, let’s do cross country.” So we used it to keep in shape and then I was good so I kept with it.

Do you like running in hot or cold weather? Why?
I like the winter. In hot weather you can only take off so many layers until you’re just in your shorts. In winter you can always put more clothes on.

When you train, how far do you run per day?
On average, 56 miles a week, which is about eight miles a day.

What is the most distracting thing when you run?

My stomach. Mostly general sickness, especially lately.

Have you had any embarrassing accidents when running?

I race steeple chase outdoors. You run seven-and-a-half laps that’s 3,000 meters. You go over hurdles every 60 meters and one of them has 12 feet of water after it. My best race, in the last 400 meters I fell into the water for the first time in my entire career and I ended up taking second. Then last year I had to hand plant on one of the barriers and flip over it.

What kind of zone do you get into when you are running?

I zone out when I run. I’m thinking about where I should be in relation to where I am. You think about how you are feeling in relation to how you should be feeling. Really you don’t want to be thinking about ‘in relation to” because in cross country it’s all about convincing yourself that everything is OK. The zone is chasing people and maintaining where you are but trying to move up. You have to make yourself comfortable until the last 400 when you don’t care whether you are comfortable.

How did you and the team’s times on the past couple races compare to other times at UR?
The Yellowjacket Invite last weekend was on average for our team 30 seconds to a minute faster. So last weekend at [the] Yellowjacket [Invitational] I ran a 25:02 and this weekend I ran a 25:40. Compared to last year I am a minute faster. 25:02 is the fastest time anyone has run on a Rochester team in the past 15 years. [Junior] Daniel Lane, who was right behind me at [the] Yellowjacket [Invitational], ran the second fastest time in 15 years. The team is looking good.

How do you think the team and yourself will do in the UAA and NCAA championships?

The top four teams at UAA are all nationally ranked. To go to Nationals you have to be either top two or top five in the region. [NCAA] sends a total of 32 teams from across the nation. In our region the top seven are nationally ranked. We finished 30 points behind which isn’t that far behind St. Lawrence, who is ranked 10th in the nation. We are going to have to be on to get one of the at-large bids, but UAA should be good. We are looking to make top three, maybe top two. No one in the UAA expects us to do that. We are looking to turn some heads and then we are looking to make it to Nationals. We will worry about it from there.

Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.

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